This article appeared in the New Straits Times on Jan 3, 2013
1. From its inception the leaders of the Pan Malayan Islamic Party (PMIP) now known as PAS (Parti Islam SeMalaysia), in their quest for support condemned UMNO members as infidels (kafir) for cooperating with non-Muslims. This was followed in April 1981 by Hadi Awang’s statement that UMNO members are kafir (infidels) because UMNO perpetuates the constitution of the colonialist, perpetuates the rules and regulations of the infidels, perpetuates the rules of the pre-Islamic Arabs, the Jahiliah. Because of these things the struggles of PAS constitute a jihad (holy struggle), their speeches are jihad, their donations (to PAS) are jihad. Because of their struggle (war) against these people (UMNO members), if they die they become syahids (Islamic martyrs) they die in Islam. He said that they don’t have to be a Jew, don’t have to be a Christian, don’t have to be Hindu or Buddhist, they become infidels if they separate politics from religion.
2. The effect of these two pronouncements is far more than is generally known. They have resulted in a deep split among the Malay Muslims who are all Sunnis and followers of the same Imam, Imam Shafie. Usually the splits within the Muslim community are due to the interpretations and teachings of different Imams. Thus the Sunnis and the Shiahs are so deeply divided that they regarded each other as non-Muslims. As a result they have been fighting and killing each other for more than a thousand years.
3. There was no such division among Malay Muslim until PAS was formed. Immediately PAS declared that those who did not join it are infidels (kafir). But the most potent cause of the split among Malay Sunnis is due to the pronouncement of Hadi Awang, presently the President of PAS. His diatribe against UMNO and condemnation of UMNO Malays as kafirs (apostates or infidels) has resulted in the rejection of PAS members of UMNO Imams during prayers. They would hold separate prayers behind their own Imam.
4. PAS members even build their own mosques, refuse to eat meat slaughtered by UMNO supporters, reject the validity of marriages officiated by UMNO kadis, and bury their dead in separate burial grounds.
5. Members of the same family who are UMNO followers are shunned by those who support PAS.
6. In fact PAS members truly believe that the 3 million UMNO members, their families and their supporters are not Muslims. They are all kafir or infidels and apostates.
7. Malays are not usually violent but there have been deaths such as those in Memali where police personnel and PAS supporters lost their lives. Because we don’t have the regular violence and killings as occurred in other Muslim countries where the Muslims are divided into Shiah and Sunnis, the split and animosities between the Muslim Malays are not so noticeable. It is only during elections that this split becomes a factor.
8. PAS members have become so fanatical in their support for the Party that even when the Party and the leaders breach their own injunctions they continue their blind support of the party. Thus after saying that UMNO is kafir because it works with kafir, now that PAS has done exactly the same, PAS members continue to support their party. Their fanaticism seem to blind them to the hypocrisy of their leaders.
9. It is perhaps worthwhile to examine the pronouncements of Hadi Awang because most PAS members look up to him as infallible and sinless (ma’asum). What indeed does Hadi mean when he made his amanat of 1981.
10. He said that PAS is opposed to UMNO because it had perpetuated the constitution of the colonialist. Which part of the constitution is he referring to?
11. The constitution adopted by Malaysia upon independence provides for :
a) A constitutional monarchy;
b) A parliament elected by the people;
c) An Executive Prime Minister and Cabinet from the party or representatives who have the support of the majority in Parliament;
d) The separation of power between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary;
e) The rule of law and equality before the law;
f) Trials conducted by the courts where the procedures include evidence by witnesses and also circumstantial evidence;
f) The monarch to appoint the Prime Minister or Chief Minister based on the support of the elected legislators but may not dismiss the Government so formed unless a vote of non-confidence has been passed against the Government concerned;
g) Freedom to believe in and practice other religions and
h) No imposition of Islamic law on non-Muslims.
12. There are elements of the western non-Muslims concepts of governance in all these and more. If PAS consider their acceptance make UMNO kafir, what would PAS replace them with. Would PAS want the:
a) Constitutional monarch to be replaced with an absolute monarch?
b) Would PAS wish to replace elected Parliaments with a Dewan made of nominees of the absolute ruler?
c) Would PAS accept a Prime Minister and his Cabinet appointed by the monarch even if they are not supported by the majority of the members of the Dewan?
d) Would the separation of power between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary be abolished?
e) Should there be no rule of law?
f) Should trials be conducted without need of duly-appointed judges in legally constituted courts?
g) Should courts only find an accused person guilty if there are four witnesses of high-standing to vouch for the facts of the crime?
h) Should constitutional evidence such as DNA and thumbprints be rejected?
i) Should the monarch be given the power to appoint and dismiss the Government at his whim and fancy?
13. To clear the air and to give the religions basis for the pronouncement of Hadi Awang that the constitution is colonial, he must explain how the Malaysian Constitutions has to be changed so as not to be a perpetuation of the colonial constitution.
14. I suspect he would answer that I am not qualified to question him as I am not a religious scholar. But I would be living under Hadi’s constitution if his PAS adorers were to give him victory in the 13th General Election. As a citizen I must know what I would be in for, even if the DAP and its supporters don’t want to know. And I believe many citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims would want to know.
15. DAP may believe that they would be able to handle Hadi and his “Amanat”, but the DAP struggle to do this will destabilise the country, preventing it from developing and growing.