April poll to decide PAS future direction

 |Mar 28, 2017

Many of the younger generation PAS leaders and supporters do not seem to know what happened 35 years ago and the dilemma that Fadzil Muhammad Noor had to grapple with back in 1982.

After Anwar Ibrahim was released from Kamunting in 1975, he headed Abim and, together with Fadzil, campaigned all over Malaysia.

Although Anwar was not officially a PAS member, the party platform was used to organise the Abim functions.

Anwar was also invited to talk at the PAS ceramah.

Basically Fadzil and PAS were laying the groundwork for Anwar to join the party and in future take over the leadership of the party.

There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Fadzil was grooming Anwar to take over PAS.

Anwar joins Umno

When Mahathir Mohamad took over the leadership of Umno in 1981, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah proposed that Umno bring Anwar into the party.

This was to prevent him from going to PAS, which they knew was only a matter of time – and as far as Fadzil was concerned was more or less a fait accompli.

At first Mahathir was dead against the idea (he considered Anwar toxic) but eventually he was persuaded and he reluctantly agreed that Anwar be allowed to join Umno.

In 1982 Anwar joined Umno and Fadzil was heartbroken.

He had more or less assumed that Anwar would be joining PAS and when Anwar moved the other way instead Fadzil felt betrayed.

Anwar’s Black Ops on PAS

In the 1974 general election, PAS, which was a member of Barisan Nasional, won 13 parliament seats (up from 12 in 1969) against only nine for DAP.

In the 1978 general election, after PAS had left Barisan Nasional (and had lost Kelantan to Umno a few months before that), their parliament seats dropped to just five.

Fadzil was hoping that by the time the 1982 general election was held Anwar would be in PAS.

Then PAS would probably be able to take back Kelantan from Umno and win at least 15 or so parliament seats.

Instead, Anwar joined Umno and Kelantan stayed in Umno’s hands and PAS won, yet again, just five parliament seats.

In fact, Anwar contested the 1982 general election under Umno even though the party constitution says you must be a member of the party for at least five years before you can contest the election under the party banner (Umno backdated Anwar’s party membership to the 1970s to make him ‘legal’).

What many PAS members do not realise is that in 1982, the party president Asri Muda resigned but Fadzil refused to take over.

Instead, he asked Yusof Rawa to take over (which he did in 1983).

Fadzil would rather be just the deputy so that he can ‘reserve’ the presidency for Anwar.

Fadzil still had hopes that Anwar would eventually ‘come back’ to PAS.

However, in the 1986 general election, PAS got wiped out when it won only one parliament seat.

Anwar was very instrumental in this worst defeat in PAS history.

For the first time in history, PAS learnt what ‘Black Ops’ means.

PAS was a victim of Umno’s ‘Black Ops’ that Anwar’s team headed.

PAS political expedition

In 1989, just before the 1990 general election, Fadzil took over the presidency of the party.

He knew that Anwar was never going to ‘return’ to PAS so he might as well just move on and focus on making PAS significant in Malaysian politics again.

In the 1990 general election, PAS teamed up with Tengku Razaleigh’s Semangat 46 and recaptured Kelantan and won eight parliament seats (15 together with Semangat 46).

From 1990 onwards, PAS was always in coalition or cooperation with another party – with Semangat 46 in 1990 and 1995, DAP, PKR and PRM in 1999,  PKR in 2004 and, PKR and DAP in 2008 and 2013.

Now, to face the next general election, PAS is, again, solo like in 1978, 1982 and 1986, the worse periods in the party’s 72 years history.

Yes, PAS is technically 72 years old while Umno is just 71.

PAS actually started life as the Malay Nationalist Party (MNP), formed by Burhanuddin al-Helmy in 1945.

In 1947, it became the Supreme Islamic Council or Majlis Tertingi Agama (Mata), Hizbul Muslimin in 1948, and PMIP or PAS in 1951.

At that time PAS was a nationalist-Islamist party that fought for both nationalism and Islam.

PAS, in reality, was an Umno breakaway party that wanted not only nationalism but Islam as well.


Burhanuddin al-Helmy’s MNP was actually a leftwing party and its aim was to fight from Malaya’s independence from Britain.

It became Islamic two years later.

In 1951, the Islamists left Umno and turned PAS into a fully-fledged Islamic party, but still with Malay nationalism as the backdrop.

This is what most of the young PAS leaders and members do not realise.

In fact, in 1948, the British arrested many of the Hizbul Muslimin leaders on allegations that they were Communists.

The British were worried that the Islamists would take over the country and implement Islamic laws so they had to neutralise the Islamists and help the nationalists take over.

In 1955, the British held ‘test elections’ and Umno won all but one of the 52 seats – the one seat was won by PAS.

In 1957, the British agreed to grant Malaya independence, knowing that the nationalists and not the Islamists would be taking over the country.

If PAS had won, say, 30 out of the 52 seats, instead of just one, Britain would not have granted Malaya independence in 1957.

What next

So that is where PAS came from, which many are not aware of.

PAS has seen good days and it has seen bad days.

The question now is where does PAS go from here?

Next month will decide whether PAS stays relevant or whether it was going to be just a footnote in history, no longer worth talking about.

Many in the party appear to have forgotten how and why the party came into being.

In its association with PKR and DAP since 1999 (and Semangat 46 before that in 1990-1996), the PAS culture has been corrupted and contaminated.

PAS leaders talk and act just like the people from the other side who they condemned.

What is it that the PAS people want?

PAS is the oldest political party in Malaysia.

But have the objectives, ideals and aspirations of PAS changed so much since 1945?

Next month PAS is going to have its party election.

Soon after that it is going to face the next general election.

Who it chooses as its leaders will determine the outcome of that general election.

PAS can either go on living or is can die in the next general election like it almost did 30 years ago in the 1980s.

Trojan horses

PAS youth movement will have to play a big role in the coming general election.

So it must choose wisely who will lead that youth movement because it was going to be the backbone of the election machinery.

People like Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz or Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi should lead the youth movement.

Of course, PAS’s enemies are going to scream nepotism to ensure that those two do not continue to lead the youth movement.

But that is their psywar, which PAS must ignore.

PAS’s enemies will want a DAP-friendly or Amanah-friendly youth leader so that PAS can be sabotaged in the coming general election.

This must never happen.

All DAP-friendly or PAN-friendly leaders must be kicked out.

These people are Trojan horses whose job is to sabotage the party in the general election.

The contradictory and confusing statements they make is already proof of that.

Let me say that again – and don’t make me say ‘I told you so’ after the next general election – what leaders you choose next month, especially to lead the youth movement, is going to decide the future of the party.

So choose wisely and kick out the munafiqs, as Prophet Muhammad would have done. – Malaysia Today

Raja Petra Kamarudin or RPK, cousin to the Selangor Sultan, is one of Malaysia's earliest online 'citizen journalists'. He started his website in 1995 before the internet 'explosion' triggered by the Reformasi movement in September 1998. Malaysia Today was launched as a blog in August 2004 and is one of the few pioneer blogs still active and posting articles on a daily basis 24-7. RPK, 66 years old, has been writing since 1990.