Aug 17, 2008 By IAN MCINTYRE and CLARA CHOOI
IPOH: PAS Supporters Club is lobbying for the PAS party leadership to start a new wing allowing its over 10,000 non-Muslim members to have a greater voice in the party.
Club president Hu Pang Chaw said that in starting the new wing, called the Dewan Penyokong PAS (PAS supporters wing), non-Muslims would be able to help in further developing the party.
"It would also help banish whatever false perceptions and fears the non-Muslims currently have of PAS that it is a party that does not accept non-Muslims," he said Sunday in an address at the closing of the 54th PAS muktamar here.
The former journalist with a Chinese daily, who is one of the founding members of the club in 2004, garnered thunderous applause from the thousands of delegates gathered for the event at Stadium Indera Mulia.
Hu said that many non-Muslims, in seeing the manner in which Umno members behaved, had a very skewed perception of what Islam as a religion was all about.
"If they ever were to follow the PAS leadership, they would surely have a different idea.
"Fears of the Islamic Hudud laws are also unfounded. Since PAS is in Pakatan Rakyat, there will always be a check and balance," he said.
Hu added that the idea of starting the Dewan Penyokong PAS had initially come from party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang himself.
"We have already received an approval in principle for this but the party still needs to iron out issues on how to implement it," he said.
Hu said that by setting up the wing, the PAS constitution would only have to be tweaked slightly to include the wing.
"It would not have to be changed to state that full membership into the party should be opened to non-Muslims too.
"We can understand how with over a million members, there may be those who are more conservative who may not feel comfortable with that idea," he said.
Hu also said that the club did not agree with the PAS-Umno muzakarah (dialogue) for there was no reason for PAS to negotiate with Umno to strengthen the unity of the Malays.
"I am worried that if this muzakarah goes on, PAS may lose its support of the club in the next general election," he said.
Hu is one of the founding members of the club which was founded in 2004.