By Paul Bellow
Pas president Hadi Awang must be grinning from ear to ear over what he believes is the prospect of the ‘green wave’ extending to Selangor in the upcoming state elections.
Selangor is the prized trophy and capturing the state in the upcoming election would be akin to bagging Putrajaya in a general election.
A shock victory for the Perikatan Nasional opposition coalition would be music to Hadi’s ear because Selangor might then have a Pas chief minister.
But a Pas takeover would spell a bleak future for the minorities in the state as the conservative religious party has openly shown its disdain for those who profess a different faith.
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The party’s blurred vision can see nothing but certain perceived disagreeable traits among the descendants of immigrants who have toiled long and hard down the years to build the country into what it is today.
Hadi has torn the pages of history to shreds with his slanted interpretation of the origin and presence of these descendants, who have put down their roots firmly into Malaysian soil. In the eyes of people of his ilk, these descendants have become little more than invited guests – to be only tolerated, but not fully accepted.
However, the ‘tolerated’ ethnic groups in Selangor form a significant chunk of the electorate, and it is left to them and other fair-minded voters to stop the ‘green wave’ from overpowering the most industrialised state in the country.
In the upcoming elections in six states, Pas, seen as the senior partner of PN, is likely to contest the most seats among all the parties. So if PN sweeps to victory in these states, the Islamic party would have the clout to institute state laws that would promote and strengthen its ethno-religious agenda.
In Selangor, Pas senses an opportunity to push this most modern state into a religious straitjacket that could severely curtail the rights of many ordinary people to pursue the freedoms they have enjoyed over the past decades. Once in power, Pas could pick a chief minister in the mould of either firebrand Hadi or maverick Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, the political warlord of Kedah.
Such a choice could spell trouble for Selangor because these characters have shown their ugly side – through their parochial thinking, snobbish attitude and inflammatory speeches.
The lifestyle that Selangor residents have been used to could change drastically as the self-styled ‘party of God’ would inevitably introduce a slew of changes that could intrude into people’s personal lives. Pas’ holier-than-thou approach would be the bane of the state’s multicultural residents.
With its focus on race and religion, Pas will not be bothered about the material progress Selangor has achieved. This PN partner appears only interested in all things spiritual – its narrow understanding of the spiritual, that is.
In Pas’ mind, ‘saving the soul’ of Selangor would be more urgent than keeping pace with rapid economic and technological developments the world over.
If Selangor falls to PN and senior brother Pas is tapped to take over Shah Alam, an unfamiliar landscape could unfold to reveal dark forebodings of unpleasant things to come.
Selangor under Pas would be a Kelantan in the making, with its associated political and economic ills thrown into the bargain. The economic powerhouse may never recover its shine because Hadi and company could be expected to do all they can to reverse all traces of modernisation and frustrate attempts to keep alive the rhythmic beat of harmony in diversity.
When political and clerical power is combined, the result will be a Selangor wallowing and slowly drowning in murky waters ala Kelantan.
Selangor voters face a stark choice: vote for continuing stability or usher in a party that could wreak havoc in the public and private domains as it rigorously pursues its narrow and divisive religious and racial agenda.
Paul Bellow is the pseudonym of an Aliran reader