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KUALA LUMPUR: The idea of forming a new moderate Islamic political party
has certainly caught the attention of many political observers who
obviously vary in the idea of projecting it.
While some observers
predicted a better outcome for Malaysian politics as a whole, others
described that the move would squander the opportunity for the Malays to
regain their power.
The idea to establish such a moderate
political party came from those defeated PAS members in their recent
party polls. The likes of Mohamad Sabu, Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Dr
Dzulkefly Ahmad and others who have all lost to the hardliners in the
Islamic party depicted the need to form a party that is not just
exclusive for the Muslims – but for all citizens.
But what do
ordinary Malaysian citizens think about the idea? Would it benefit the
multiracial society in the country or would it just be another political
party that merely replaces PAS?
Berita Daily speaks to a number of ordinary people for their feedback.
I do support any intention of forming a moderate Islamic party. A new
Islamic party is needed to replace both PAS and Umno. I do not support
race-based or religion-based party but if a moderate Islamic party is
being formed by the likes of Mat Sabu and Dr Mujahid, surely this so
called new party will defend the fundamental rights of all Malaysians.
from the very beginning is a racist party and sadly, PAS who once said
that the party is for all, is now heading that way,” said Mandeep Singh,
an active member of Kelab Bangsar Utama – a non governmental
Asked on how he wanted the new progressive party to
function, Mandeep who is also an electoral observer, explained that
although the party would be headed by Islamists, the party should move
away from race and religion based politics.
Selangorian added that the committee members of the party should start
engaging with civil society organisations such as Sisters In Islam (SIS)
and Bersih – an effort that was never done by PAS.
sit and discuss with civil rights groups so that they could listen to
everyone's opinion. The new party should not only speak about one race
or religion, but must represent Malaysians,” Mandeep said.
Muhammad Anas Danial Ismail, a new progressive party is needed as the
discourse of Islamism in the country has been too polarised by Umno and
He described that at the moment there is no other
alternative for the discourse of Islamism, saying that the conservatives
in PAS were no different from those in other right-wing groups such as
Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma).
“As a Malay Muslim, I would say
that it is needed because the discourse of Islamism has been dominated
by Umno and PAS and there is no other alternative. The conservatives in
PAS is similar to those in Isma or in Umno. An alternative voice is
needed,” he said when contacted.
Adding further, he explained
that the new party must learn how to interact with society in general
while saying that it must represent a more inclusive view of Islamism.
in the new party must not act in a 'holier than thou' approach and they
must be relevant to the society. They must know how to interact with
the society and must be more inclusive in their views,” he said.
Tool to secure power
with Anas, Muhammad Nazreen Jaafar said it was timely for the country
to adopt such an approach, stating that the trend of Islamic
conservatism where religion has become a thought control and has become a
tool to secure power of interest.
Citing the example of
Indonesia, Nazreen who is a former aide to PKR president Dr Wan Azizah
Wan Ismail, said that perhaps with the creation of a new progressive
Islamic political party, Malaysians could learn from the emergence of
various Islamic parties in Indonesia that had led to form a political
maturity in the public sphere.
“The advent of Islamic parties in
Malaysia would lead into vibrant discussion on the position of Islam in
our country. Moreover, we can learn from Indonesia during 90s where the
emergence of Islamic parties such as PPP, PKS, PKB and others were able
to bring political maturity into our political landscape,” he stated.
Meanwhile, according to Zoe Randhawa, any new party must work towards a secular democracy in order to unite the nation.
not suggesting the new party to abandon its Islamic rhetoric, the
former student at London School of Economics said that the party must
also respect the diversity and various beliefs in the society.
only way forward is to work towards a secular democracy and that is the
only way to unite a multiracial, multi-ethnic society like Malaysia.
am not suggesting that they get rid of their Islamic rhetoric but they
have to respect that Malaysia is a secular state with multi-ethnicity.
The agree to disagree policy being practised by the opposition is making
them hard to unite as a front.
“For me, the idea of coalition in politics, should be removed,” Zoe said.
for University of Malaya Student Council vice president 2, Kalaivaanan
Murty, the idea of progressivism must lead to the idea of significant
paradigm shift while rejecting the idea of giving an old book a new
“If the question points out to the idea of replacing an
old political party with the new one then I would contend that it
shouldn't. Why do you want to give an old book a new cover.
Progressivism if one really connotes to idea of it, leads to the idea of
significant paradigm shift. One must be able to perceive matters
through the eyes of fair comments and principles.
perceives to be preaching for progressive Islamic views then that
particular person should in my humble opinion let go of the religious
title and adopt a more Malaysian title.
must be rooted back to the people. It must be of the nature that people
from different religion look up to it as the true reflection of the
religion and I believe that it should stem within a multi-religious
political party,” he opined.
opinion was mirrored by his UM compatriot, Khairol Najib Hashim who
said that while it is needed for a new progressive party to be
initiated, the party must place the people's agenda as the party's main
Khairol, who is the chairperson of Kesatuan Mahasiswa
Malaysia, added that the progressives in PAS dubbed as the G18 should
charge into action immediately to create a new political platform for
“People's agenda must be their first priority and
then only the party's agenda. It can't neglect the promise that the
opposition have given to the people.
“In my view, they must act
fast and it must be now. Two years away from the next general election
and it is not long before it comes. They have to get the platform ready
for Malaysians. It is evident in the last GE that Malaysians are hungry
for a change,” he said.