Tuesday, 13 May 2008

PAS assures consideration of all races for each Pakatan state

KOTA BARU: PAS has given an assurance that it will consider the different racial make-up of each state under the Pakatan Rakyat alliance before implementing long-term recreational and religious policies.

This means that whatever policies adopted in Kelantan, particularly those covering entertainment, gambling and places of worship, may not be suitable for other states under the alliance, PAS Supporters' Club chairman Hu Phang Chiau said.

He said that party leaders in Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan had recently conveyed this to him during closed-door discussions.

PAS has a huge presence in those four states. It monopolises the administrations of Kedah and Kelantan besides helming Perak, where it holds the mentri besar's post in a collaborative government with DAP.

PAS also has a significant presence in Selangor where it works with Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

“PAS recognises the different racial make-up of each state under Pakatan, except for Penang where DAP dominates,” Hu, a former newspaper journalist, said in an interview.

He said he informed PAS leaders that in Kelantan, about 97% of the population are Muslims, so it would be easier and logical to implement Islamist-based policies.

In Kedah, only 65% are Muslims, while in Selangor and Perak, the margin of difference is narrower as only 55% are Muslims, Hu said.

Kelantan, which has been under PAS stewardship since 1990, practises a rigid policy on entertainment under which live performances and gambling are banned and alcohol sale controlled.

Hu said the PAS Supporters' Club, consisting of non-Muslims who are supportive of the Islamist party, plans to allay fears of non-Muslims in states under the Pakatan alliance.

Hu, who is reportedly being considered for a senatorship under the PAS-led Kelantan government, said more people are starting to accept the Islamist party as an alternative to Barisan Nasional.

Since the March general election, membership of the club has shot up 100% with an estimated 5,000 non-Muslims now members, Hu claimed.

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