PAS, since you are going to do a post-mortem on your embarrassing loss in Bagan Pinang, I would like to take this opportunity to offer some sincere opinion on how you should move forward from now on.
For the past many many years, Election Commission (EC) has been known as the provider of the voters data on the area where an election will be held. For instance, in the recently concluded Bagan Pinang's election, below was the data provided by EC.
From the data below, have you asked yourself these questions before (below)?
1. Why was the voters data breakdown according to race?
2. Was it the most convenient way for EC to breakdown voters?
3. Was it because Barisan Nasional (BN) wanted EC to distinguish the voters by race?
4. Was it done purposely by EC to suit BN's ideology and component party's assignment? For instance, UMNO will need to work for the Malay votes, while MCA will figure out how to attract the Chinese votes and lastly MIC will do its part to charm the Indian voters?
5. Has PAS realized that they have fell into this race-based politics subconsciously by following the data provided by EC?
Table 1: Voters breakdown according to race.
Honestly PAS, what came to your mind, when you took the first glance at those kind of voters breakdown in Table 1 on every election that you had participated?
Would you humbly admit that you were figuring out ways to woo the voters according to their race? More often than not, listed below were roughly the ideas that came right into the mind of most PAS politicians upon looking at Table 1 data:
a. To woo the Malays, the issues you were probably going to talk about were the Islamic issues, the welfare of civil servants and perhaps a little playing on the sentiment of Malay rights - (which had nothing to do with other races).
b. To woo the Chinese, you would probably switched your tune and try to portray yourself as being liberal and fair Muslim politicians while you kept painting UMNO as the real devil for playing extreme racial issues to create fear among the Chinese � (which did not concern the Malay voters).
c. Too woo the Indians, the issues that you would probably be playing will be on how BN marginalised them while trying to pin their sorry state on MIC -- (which had nothing to do with the Chinese and Malay voters).
Because of being too caught up with the BN's political game, PAS forgot that they are a multi-racial party who fights for Islam. The word "multi-racial" was nowhere to be found in their mind even though PAS has a lot of Chinese-Muslim and Indian-Muslim brothers in their ranks (some even become MP or Aduns of PAS).
2. Try looking from a different angle, PAS. (An example)
This is where PAS has to change its way of seeing things. Now, lets try to see an example below on the voters breakdown from a different angle.
Table 2: Voters breakdown according to age.
Ok, PAS, what came to your mind after seeing the data in Table 2, assuming you are going to have an election soon?
You'll probably start listing down problems affecting the different age groups in the area and think about ways to persuade them to vote for PAS. In short, how are you going to woo the young, middle age and elder voters to vote for you.
a. For Malaysians age 21-35, this group of people probably suffering from low wages and unemployment (for those who has just graduated), financially-strained to send their children to schools (for young family), poor quality of their children�s education due to insufficient teachers and schools equipments locally. To persuade this age group to vote for you, you can do your best to utilize the Internet to enlighten them politically about your struggle and party.
b. For Malaysians age 36-50, these people probably pay more attention to their surrounding community, society well-being (crime rate etc) and follow national politics closely. To woo this group of voters, you will probably think of ways to address their bread and butter, infrastructure and facilities issues that are affecting their daily life. You can also play some sentiments on some national policies and issues and try to address their concern about their children's future (University or beyond) to eliminate their fear of voting for you.
c. For Malaysians age 51-70, most of the people belonging to this group are so attached to BN (If not, how come BN can rule for 50 years and beyond? To woo this group of voters, you can use some ideas to reason with them about their unquestioned support to BN for over 50 years. You can make them realize that their undying support for BN has turned BN into a corrupted machine beyond control. And it is their responsibility to make things right again, by voting for you. You can share the country's predicament and while playing their guilty feeling of letting Malaysia to go into such failed state to be inherited by their children and grandchildren.
Can you see the difference in the range of issues you are trying to raise when you try to distinguish the voters based on Table 2 rather than Table 1? Did you notice the issues you were (in a, b and c) indirectly touches a lot of common issues faced by all races, by just changing the perspective you see things?
3. Change the way you see the breakdown on voters to avoid self-made traps
Lately, the bad perception on PAS were mostly self-inflicted. Most of those traps were laid by PAS's own leaders because of their way of viewing things racially. If PAS was to view voters and issues from the 'age' angle, do you think those beer and concert issues would still pop up? Unlikely so.
PAS probably would have focus on issues like drug abuses, the rampant incest cases, abnormal increase in brothels and prostitution, impoverishment, Mat Rempits, unemployment, low productivity in civil servants, corruption and setting up own corruption police to monitor Pakatan government's deal. Don't all these issues listed above sound a lot better and acceptable than those of beers, concerts and even SELCAT?
In PAS, I can sense that only Tok Guru Nik Aziz treats PAS as a multi-racial party. Due to that, those statements that he made were always easier to be accepted by all community alike because his statements go far beyond racial lines. His statements touched more on common humanity values, struggles and beliefs because of the way he sees things. Unfortunately, how many PAS members appreciate TGNA's leadership from this angle?
Have you give a deep thought about why TGNA wanted a Chinese-Muslim to replace him as Menteri Besar more than anyone else? I believe his noble intention for finding a Chinese-Muslim successor is to send the ultimate message to all PAS members and Malaysians - that PAS doesn't distinguish people by race; as long as you are a Muslim, you can be the Prime Minister of Malaysia. If you are a non-Muslim, we'll take care of you as well in our government policies based on the true Islamic way.
Sadly, you can't deny that a lot of PAS members treat PAS like a Malay party (like UMNO). The only thing that differentiate them, is their belief - they are the true fighters for Islam while UMNO is not. To a certain extent, some of them even acted like UMNO. (I believe this is also the source of sadness to TGNA.)
By changing the way PAS sees things, I truly believe that they can actually avoid a lot of self-made traps while regaining their support from every Malaysian. By not viewing things racially, you move away from those issues that only affect certain races. On the positive note, you are able to raise more common issues affecting every Malaysian and that is what makes you a truly Malaysian party.
If PAS can adopt this change successfully, I'm sure PAS can reduce a lot of collision with their partners in Pakatan in terms of ideologies and issues. And the best thing is, PAS can easily bring their fights and issues across to East Malaysia as those issues are going to be usable (because it is not racial issues) and move on as the big brother of Pakatan in their march to Putrajaya.
Breaking down the voters by age is just an example. There are a lot of other ways to breakdown the voters, such as income-based breakdown (low, middle, high) and distinguish them by jobs (farmers, fishermen, blue-collar workers, white-collar workers, civil servants, teachers, housewives and etc).
4. PAS, you can do it.
I do not know what's the real reason behind the 'fasting' culture in Islam. In my opinion, fasting is the hardest thing for a human to do; because 'hunger' is the most cruel feeling a human ever want to experience in his life time.
I tried fasting before, 3 days in a row in fact. It took me a lot of will to not to drink a single drop of water for 14 hours a day, for 3 straight days. It was a very tiring experience, as I needed to wake up early for my sahur. With the agony of continuously being in hunger and lack of sleep, actually I was surprised by my determination to have lasted for 3 days.
The test of willpower to not to drink or eat anything for 14 hours was very challenging to me. I succeeded for 3 freaking days, and I learnt a valuable lesson behind the ordeal of my 3-days fasting; "If I set my mind and will to do it, I can do it."
In the end, I think I finally understand why Islam encourages their followers to fast - it is an continuous exercise to train their will power against the toughest challenge on earth 'hunger' (as hunger is the worst temptation of all temptations for a human).
If you can resist the hunger temptation for 30 days (plus another 6 days in Syawal for some) a year as a Muslim, there's no reason for you to not being able to achieve other things in life. If you can understand the true value of 'fasting' and apply it in your daily life, I believe you can achieve anything you want as long as you put your mind and will to it. In fact this invaluable lesson can be applied to a lot of other things in life, like resisting oneself against the constant temptation of receiving bribes, the temptation of lying and temptation of doing evil by oppressing the minorities. Because of this practice and belief in Islam, I believe Muslims are the humans with the 'strongest will' on Earth.
Sorry, I digress, let's us get back to the objective of this article.
To ask an old man to change a trait in his attitudes and perspectives is hard, and I admit it is even harder to ask an old party like PAS who has over a million members nationwide to change. But PAS, you can do it. If you can endure the toughest challenge of God's test of fasting every year for 36 days, you certainly can make that change for the greater good.
Please be reminded that the 'change' I mentioned was not about your ideologies and struggles; I am just suggesting to you to change the way you see things. Change takes a lot of courage and will because it comes with a lot of resistance. To 'change a culture one has to be as persistent as the way he withstood his hunger in the fasting month.
PAS, try to make this change of 'seeing voters breakdown from other perspectives' instead of race and adopt it as a new culture. In the mean time, please ask those controversial PAS leaders to 'fast' their mouth (not food-related) and train their thoughts into this new culture before breaking their 'fast'.
In a short period of time, I believe you are going to be back on track to replace UMNO as the most influential party in Malaysia.
5. Party for 1-Malaysian
Once you are able to change the way you see things, you will automatically start to change the way you think, and lastly it will change the way you talk (approach) on issues. You practice this long enough (treat it like a fasting test), it will stick on your mind, and you never have to worry about self-made traps again. Once you reach that stage, there's no need to afraid of any UMNO's provocation in the future.
In the end (after adapting to this change), you will realise that you do not abandon your Islamic principles, instead you just throw away your racial spectacles. By then, you can proudly say you are a party for 1-Malaysian (notice the extra 'n') instead of the BN's 1Malaysia that no one understands until now.
6. Fitting nicely in Pakatan
PAS - a MULTI-RACIAL party who fights for Islam.
PKR - a MULTI-RACIAL party who believes in fairness to all races.
DAP - a MULTI-RACIAL party who fights for real democracy in Malaysia.
In the end, we can proudly call our Pakatan Rakyat coalition as a MULTI-RACIAL coalitionsepo who fights for human rights to ensure fairness through democracy based on Islam.
What say you, PAS?
Penulis adalah seorang pemuda bukan Islan yang sangat berminat dengan politik PAS namun dia mempunyai pandangan tersendiri tentang parti Islam ini._