RECOMMENDED READING “The Rising Force In Malaysia’s Opposition”


Aljazeera has posted an article titled “The rising force in Malaysia’s opposition” that looks as the growing importance of the Islamist Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), a group said to be “inspired” by the  Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The article begins:

10 Feb 2013 Many of Anwar Ibrahim’s supporters joined the country’s main Islamist party when he was jailed [AFP] Anwar Ibrahim, the face of Malaysia’s opposition, has captured international headlines as a real challenge to the country’s 56-year-old government in a watershed election to be held at the latest by June this year. But even though Anwar leads the three-party opposition which includes his own party, the People’s Justice Party (PKR), it is the coalition’s third partner, the Islamist Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), which is emerging as the likely kingmaker. PAS, founded in 1951, is the country’s oldest and largest opposition party, and draws inspiration from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. When Anwar led an opposition rally last month, PAS outnumbered its coalition partners to make up the majority of the estimated 80,000-strong crowd that gathered in downtown Kuala Lumpur. ‘A significant 75 to 80 percent were PAS [supporters]. They are quite committed,’ said Karpal Singh, chairman of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and a member of the opposition coalition. The rally was of one the opposition’s largest turnouts, and underscored the extensive reach, discipline and organisational skills of PAS. In Malaysia, where Malays and Muslims make up the majority of the population, the Muslim vote is crucial. Unlike Anwar’s secular, nationalist party, PAS advocates establishing an Islamic state in Malaysia. ‘As a Muslim, it is our duty. I believe if there is Hudud law, everything will change for the better. There will be no more corruption, and more transparency.’ – Aminah, PAS supporter Conservative segments within PAS want to implement Islamic criminal code, known as Hudud law, in the event that it gains the two-thirds majority needed to change the country’s federal constitution. But right now, it will be difficult for PAS to reach this threshold. Secular parties are opposed to Hudud law, although many grassroots PAS supporters and leaders want it to be implemented. ‘In Malaysia, we have the death penalty. What’s the difference between death by hanging and death by beheading?’ asked a young, male PAS supporter who declined to be named, referring to the provision of Hudud that calls for beheading those condemned to death. Twenty-five-year-old Aminah, a student from the country’s east coast state of Trengganu, said:  ‘As Muslims, it is our duty. I believe if there is Hudud law, everything will change for the better. There will be no more corruption, and more transparency.’ Spike in membership PAS members have more than doubled since 1998, when Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister by then-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who accused Anwar of being ‘unfit’ for office. That same month, Anwar was arrested after leading 30,000 protesters through the capital. He was later sentenced to six years’ jail for corruption, and received a second, consecutive nine-year term in August 2000 on a sodomy charge.

Read the rest here.

Anwar Ibrahim has many known ties to the global U.S Muslim Brotherhood including helping to found the International Institute of Islamic Thought IIIT) where he currently serves as a director,  serving as a trustee for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) during the 1970’s and early 1980’s, and appearances at numerous Brotherhood-linked conferences. As noted in a previous post, Ibrahim was scheduled to speak at a conference in Istanbul that featured a large number of prominent speakers with ties to the global Brotherhood. Another recent post also discussed Ibrahim’s appearance at a Saudi economic forum. Media coverage on Ibrahim generally ignores this history which may be explained by an article from the Malaysian media on how Ibrahim has reinvented himself.

A post from January 2012 reported that Ibrahim had been acquitted of sodomy charges after a trial that last two years. Previous posts have discussed Ibrahim’s 2008 arrest on the sodomy charges in a seeming repeat of the events of 1998.

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