SHAH ALAM: Having already secured support from the majority of Malays, PAS must now work on winning over non-Malay and non-Muslim voters in the 16th general election (GE16), says its president, Abdul Hadi Awang.
Describing this task as an “important and challenging” responsibility, Hadi said this is crucial for the party and Perikatan Nasional (PN) in order to form the federal government at the polls.
He reiterated that PAS’s agenda of “uniting the ummah” does not mean the rights of non-Malays and non-Muslims would be ignored.
“In fact, we will continue to preserve freedom of religion and ensure justice, as enshrined under the Federal Constitution,” he said in officiating PAS’s 69th muktamar here today.
Hadi also called for Gerakan to do more as a member of the opposition coalition, to woo non-Muslim support, and in particular, to explain the benefits of a PN administration.
“The responsibility of attracting non-Muslim support and explaining to them that justice and harmony would be guaranteed under PN rule must be carried out, especially by our friends in Gerakan,” he said.
In the 15th general election (GE15) last November, PAS saw a 140% increase in the number of parliamentary seats it won with 43, up from just 18 in GE14 in May 2018.
The achievement marked a significant milestone in the party’s 71-year history, with its highest-ever representation in the Dewan Rakyat.
In the six state elections last August, PN secured a total of 146 seats, with PAS accounting for 105 of them. In contrast, the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional unity alliance won 99 seats.
Analysts have pointed to several factors contributing to PN’s growth, including effective communication through social media, a shift in Malay votes, and discontentment with the unity government.
Hadi added that during the last few elections, the challenges PAS and PN faced in garnering support from non-Muslim communities could be attributed to communication failures and “Islamophobic” sentiments which he claimed were propagated by DAP.
“We are often attacked by DAP, who hold extreme views toward Islam. Many of our statements are also misinterpreted by the media,” he said.
Hadi added that if non-Muslim communities can embrace Western secularism, which differs from their own cultural values, why can’t they accept “Islamism” and vote for Muslim candidates in elections.
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