People attend the launch of the PAS Supporters’ Congress, the Islamist party’s non-Muslim wing, in Klang May 23, 2010. — Picture by Jack Ooi
At the launch of the PAS Supporters’ Congress (Dewan Himpunan PAS) here today, PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said that the party would have no qualms nominating non-Muslims to be appointed Senators or to contest for the next general election.
“PAS can even elect non-Muslims (in the congress) as Senators.
“We see a world today where (US President) Barack Obama is in the White House.
The weather can change, people can change. I am confident of a big change for the future,” said Salahuddin.
The launching of the party’s non-Muslim wing here was a milestone for PAS in its efforts to burnish its multiracial credentials.
However, while PAS has indicated that it was considering fielding non-Muslims in the next general election and for Senatorial appointments, the underlying concern that members of the PAS supporters’ congress members were not full-fledged party members — by virtue of the party constitution — remained.
The PAS constitution stipulates that the only Muslims could be members of the party, so the formation of the congress as a separate wing was necessary to accomodate non-Muslim participation.
Meanwhile, to be a member of the congress, one needs to be non-Muslim, 18 years old and above, and accepts and supports the principles of the party’s struggles.
Hu Pang Chow, head of the supporters’ congress, claimed that PAS had achieved racial understanding and unity, something “BN could not have achieved for the past 52 years.”
“1 Malaysia is actually a copy of PAS... they have been there since 1951. We want to make Malaysia a haven for all races,” exclaimed Hu to a chorus of applause from the crowd.
Among leaders who attended the ceremony today were PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Md Isa, vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Hasan Ali, Selangor executive councillor Ronnie Liu, as well as controversial PKR MP S. Manikavasagam, who left abruptly halfway through the event.