PAS’ 64th Muktamar this weekend is expected to be a pivotal event. Its cooperation with Umno is slotted for debate. The collaboration between Pas and BN in the Sungai Kandis and Seri Setia by-elections is seen as a positive sign for a meaningful relationship.
ZATUL IFFAH ZOLKIPLY talks to Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang Question: How is the preparation for the Muktamar? Answer: Alhamdullilah. We won more seats in the 14th General Election (GE14) in Kelantan and captured Terengganu, as well as became a strong opposition in Kedah. In Pahang, we increased our state seats to 18. Winning 19 parliamentary seats out of 222 seats and 90 state seats out of 583 seats makes us a strong opposition. We need to share this experience with the delegates. Q: How do you see this experience lifting the spirits of Pas members? A: We know that they are happy with the achievement, especially our performance in the east and north.
Although we failed in the west, but at least these achievements lifted our spirits. Q: What are the issues that are expected to be debated or raised in the Muktamar? A: Firstly, we want to raise awareness of the need for an Islamic leadership in the country because the GE14 outcome sees a Federal Government that does not represent the nation’s demographics.
The Muslim population in Malaysia is 65 per cent, but the seats are dominated by non-Muslims. This needs to be addressed as it could affect the wellbeing of Muslims. We need to rise to face this challenge.
Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang says the party wants to turn Kelantan and Terengganu into models of Islamic administration in the country.
Q: What is your expectation or advice to Pas members after the Muktamar is over, especially on politics? A: It is our hope that our members and supporters will continue to support Pas governments in Kelantan and Terengganu. We want to turn these states into models of Islamic administration in the country.
Following GE14, Kelantan and Terengganu were the first to form state governments with no hiccups, unlike some other states. We had also fulfilled many of the promises in the party manifesto while Pakatan Harapan is struggling to fulfil some of its promises. Q: In terms of cooperation between Pas and Umno, will it be confined to the by-elections or continue until the next general election? A: We will proceed with the taawun concept, which is cooperate in matters that are of mutual benefit and avoid matters that are against party principles. But cooperation as an opposition front is important. Q: Isn’t Pas afraid of being called a party without a backbone because it had previously rejected cooperation with Umno? A: It is not an issue because we realise our role as opposition in the Parliament. There are matters that we support and there are matters we are against. Q: Datuk Seri, who is expected to be present at the Muktamar this year? A: Gagasan Sejahtera parties will be present. I read in the media that Umno representatives will also be present. But this is a democratic country. Any party representatives can attend Pas’ Muktamar. Q: The caning of a lesbian couple in Terengganu caught the attention of the nation, including Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who said it did not reflect the true face of Islam. A: They should conduct a study to compare caning in Islam with the one meted out in civil cases. If they make comparisons, I believe non-Muslims would choose the Islamic version. However, I see many of them giving spontaneous statements. Q: The corruption case against Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was dropped. Is it possible that the caning issue was a diversion? A: Of course, (Lim) Guan Eng’s case was bigger because it affected a state and a government unlike the caning issue, which affected two individuals. I do not know whether this issue was played up to cover the other issue (Guan Eng case). But in politics, anything is possible. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd