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Non-Muslim support for Pakatan waning

 | January 19, 2013

PAS Supporters Congress says this is because the non-Muslim community is bitter over the opposition coalition's poor handling of several recent issues

KOTA BARU: Non-Muslims support for Pakatan Rakyat has dipped in the past five months due to the actions and policies of PAS and DAP, said the PAS Supporters Congress.

Its outspoken chairman, Hu Phang Chaw, said the support dwindled following a series of events, which has left a bitter after-taste among the non-Muslim community.

“We cannot outrightly proclaim it as we have yet to conduct a proper study, but one must be brave to admit that support has eroded due our inability to manage issues well.”

He cited the local authorities in Kelantan banning women from cutting the hair of male patrons and the move to slap non-Muslims with charges similar to khalwat as examples.

He also pointed out to the insensitivity of the Kedah government for enforcing restrictions and conditions on cultural shows during the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Another example he gave was DAP’s secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s Christmas Day message reviving the useage of the word “Allah” among Christians.

Hu said while these issues resonate with non-Muslims, they better appreciate bread and butter issues rather than polemic religious or race issues.

“Sadly, Pakatan has allowed themselves to be entrap by the same issues, which they had succesfully avoided since 2004,” he said.

“Our good work in reaching out to the non-Muslims since our defeat in the 2004 polls may now backfire if we are not careful,” said Hu.

“When Pakatan talks about lowering car prices and cutting the national deficit, voters see it as long-term goals, something good to listen to, but a dream at best.

“But ask them about not being able to see a public performance during a festive occasions or not being to let women to touch their hair, they can identify with it immeadiately.

“Therefore, they are anxious to see how Pakatan can resolve these issues. Over time, people want results, not just political rhetoric,” he added.

Bread and butter issues

Hu said the dip in support may not necessarily see non-Muslims abandoning Pakatan in the next general election, but questions marks will be raised about their ability to govern.

Hu said the non-Muslims may choose to ignore voting as an indication of distrust or an outright boycott of the political parties.

He suggested that for Pakatan to corner the non-Muslim votes, it should go back to the basics of its struggle, bread and butter issues.

It must also address the prevailing perception among sections of the voters that Pakatan leaders have became arrogant after 2008.

“Many people want leaders with humility to lead and govern them in times of uncertainty. I hope Pakatan can also display humility when dealing with the electorate.”

“A conviction must be there to resolve polemic issues and to move on in the greater interest of nation building and Malaysia’s future,” he said.

While he is optimistic of a strong showing by Pakatan in the next polls, especially after the people’s rally last weekend in KL, Hu warned that numbers can be misleading in politics.

History has shown that having large crowd is by no means a victory at the polls for either side, he added.

Hu said the congress remains motivated to help Pakatan rebound from any misgivings among the non-Muslims in the next election, which is billed as the mother of all battles.


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