Aug 15, 2008
PAS, which has been at odds with their partners in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) over certain issues, appears to be contemplating leaving the coalition.
And to minimise the negative impact should it turn its back on DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the Islam-centric party may open its door to non-Muslims.
According to a report in Nanyang Siang Pau today, there are already calls from within the party for it to go multi-racial.
A party source told the daily that to woo non-Muslims, i.e. Chinese and Indians, the party is considering allowing them to hold high positions in the party.
The source attributed the roller-coaster ride in PAS's relationship with the other PR component parties to issues on Islam and the PR leadership.
"The three parties are unable to reach a consensus on Islam. Indeed we have differences which should be overcome before they break up the coalition.
"Politics is so unpredictable, we cannot depend on others in the long term. We need to fortify our strengths so that we can still survive on our own should we leave PR one day," said the source.
"We found that we obtained a lot of support from non-Muslims in the March 8 general election. This is one reason why we did very well this time. It is beyond our expectations."
The source said that in the past, non-Muslims avoid PAS like the plague but the general election results showed that they have changed.
As such the party has to strike while the iron is hot and should open its door now that it is popular, the source added.
"We will know if party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang would raise the matter at the party's muktamar (assembly) on Friday."
At present PAS allows non-Muslims to only join the PAS Supporters Club.
But the source believed that any move by PAS to accept non-Muslims will rile its PR partners.
Meanwhile, commenting on the PKR de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's efforts to woo Barisan Nasional MPs in order to realise his plans to take control of the central government by Sept 16, Hadi said
PAS will not hesitate to leave PR if the number of non-Muslim MPs in PR exceeds that of Muslim MPs as a result of defections from BN.
Making the remark at the Penang PAS muktamar earlier in the week, Hadi also said PAS will not be part of the PR central government if the party cannot get any benefit by remaining in the coalition.