Much has been said regarding the recently concluded Multaqa Al Azhar where for the first time since 2002, UMNO and PAS leaders shared a same stage. Personally, this event is more significant than the event in 2002, mainly because the event in 2002 was about the Palestinian struggle whereas the current one is closer to home - about Malaysian Muslim unity.
I received various feedback from the general public. In this article I would like to advise my fellow Malaysian Muslim to choose our battle wisely. The following are some questions which I have come across while talking with regular Ahmad (Joe) and Aminah (Jane).
1) I agree that Muslim in Malaysia should unite as mentioned in the Quran. However, I feel pissed off, upset and angry looking at the picture of both leaders! You know what I mean?!
First, let us admit the truth - the reason why you feel angry, upset and pissed off is due to the high cost of living. Period. It has nothing to do with seeing Muslim political parties attempting to form political collaboration.
Secondly, majority of Malaysians believe the current Government has betrayed the trust given by us in GE13. They have not done their job properly – from handling of the economy to the farcical issue of 1MDB.
I get it. You do not believe Najib when he said that the RM2.6 billion was a donation from some Arabs. You believed GST was introduced so the government can pay off 1MDB loan interest. You are dumbfounded why nobody have answered what happened to the RM42 billion loan. You feel betrayed because in the election manifesto, BN said they are going to reduce tolls but now they are planning to increase them. Basically, you think Najib and his cabinet are a bunch of incompetent nincompoop. I get it.
My answer is simple – @#$% Najib and his cabinets. Make a note in your smartphone that in 2018 (i.e. GE14), we get rid of Najib and his nincompoop ministers.
But while we wait for that glorious day to come, why not strengthen the Muslim ummah? Identify our source of anger: are we angry at the UMNO-PAS alliance or at certain leaders in UMNO? Once we have identified our source of anger, re-direct it to our advantage. A simple analogy would be: you are sick of working in Bank Harimau, but while waiting for another job, you take advantage of the self-improvement courses that the bank offers.
2) UMNO back-stabbed PAS previously. It would be silly to repeat the mistake!
We could open the history book and go through all the ‘who did what’ history lesson but it will be of no use. A simple answer is – who cares? Start fresh.
As far as I know, all the main players of the 1950s split are dead. Similarly, the main players of the 1975 split are no longer in power and some have even passed away. In the past, both parties have acted like nincompoop. It is interesting to note that PAS-UMNO relationship went through only 2 divorces (1950 and 1977) whereas PAS-DAP relationship went through 3 divorces (1990, 2004, 2015). So what is the big deal really?
Why don’t we take lesson from our own Islamic history? When the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir betrayed the Muslim after the battle of Uhud, did that stop the Prophet SAW from making alliances with other Jewish tribes? No.
A couple of years later, the Muslim army was betrayed by another Jewish tribe (Bani Khuraizah) during the battle of trench (Khandak), did that stop the Prophet SAW from making alliances with the other Jews? No.
Roughly a year after Khandak, Banu Nadir again betrayed the Muslim which resulted in the battle of Khaybar where most of the Jews ran away to Roman Syria. When Syria was finally conquered during the time of the 2nd Caliph, Umar Al Khattab r.a., did Umar refused to make alliances with the descendants of Banu Nadir who fled from Khaybar? No.
If the Prophet SAW and his rightly guided caliphs always gave peace and unity a chance, why can’t we? Who are we to say what will happen in the future? Go and google about Suhail ibnu Amr and what happened between him with Umar r.a. .
What happened in the past, let them remain in the past.
3) Why now? When UMNO was strong why didn’t UMNO ask to have tahaluf siyasi with PAS? Why seek PAS friendship when UMNO is weak ? Why? Why?
Many attempts were made to unite the two parties since the first split in 1950s. It succeeded temporarily in the early 70s but greed, power and women screw it up. Even after the second split, numerous attempts were made by people from inside and outside the two parties.
1982 was supposed to be the date where the path to unity started. The idea was in 10 years time, both UMNO and PAS will have the same ideology which will pave the way for a closer political collaborations between the two parties.
Anwar and his ABIM gang joined UMNO while Yusof Rawa and his gang took over power from Asri Muda. Unfortunately, greed, money, power and women took over. Some people who still remember the 1982 oath continued to bring the two parties together. By the early 2000, it was obvious that the two party will never abandon their respective ship.
In 2002, 20 years after the '1982 Grand Strategy', we met with the leaders of the two parties. We told them, stay in your respective parties if you wish, but let us agree to disagree and focus on working together on areas where we have mutual interest. Initially, the idea was a bit awkward because in the Malay society, when you fight someone, you tend to go all out. When Paklah became PM, efforts were also taken but failed due to the rise of liberal anglophile nincompoops which are currently infesting the current Najib government and GLCs.
The truth is, consistent efforts have been made since 1950s to bring unity to the Muslim ummah in Malaysia from both sides of the fence.
4) PAS was founded on the basis of Islam whereas UMNO is based on nationalism. How can they co-operate?
Firstly, Malays have a different understanding of the word nationalism. Our concept of nationalism is totally different from the French, the Germans or the British. For Malays, Malay nationalism is an umbrella concept which encompassed the person faith and nationality. You are not a Malay if you are not a Muslim. Period.
Secondly, the PAS that you see today only started in 1983 under the presidency of Yusof Rawa who was our former Ambassador to Iran during the time of Shah of Iran. The first Majlis Syura was in the year 1984. The PAS of Yusof Rawa is different from PAS of Ahmad Hassan. The PAS of Ahmad Hassan is different from the PAS of Burhanuddin Helmi. The PAS of Asri Muda was a complete opposite of PAS of Burhanuddin. PAS of Anwar (circa 2008-2013) is different from the current PAS. PAS has shown great flexibility and pragmatism in politics over the years.
5) Allahyarham Nik Aziz would never agree to the current political strategy that Hadi Awang is making.
This is simply untrue! If you look at the statements by Allahyarham Nik Aziz in the last year before he passed away, you would noticed a change in his stance in regards to working with UMNO for mutual benefit. Langkah Kajang was the turning point for many of PAS leaders including Nik Aziz. Google for his statement on Langkah Kajang, about Hudud and about the rebellion against Hadi Awang circa 2014.
6) Surely Parti Amanah Negara (PAN) is better suited with UMNO?
This might be true 20-30 years ago, but I am not so sure of it now. Personally, PAN consist of political animals who practice Machiavellian politics. Their aim is to do just about anything to achieve political power. Once they have attained power, only then will they implement 'real Islam'. Of course this is all bull-crap and a re-hash of the strategy that Anwar and gang planned in early 1980s prior to join UMNO. We all know what happened afterwards. If you sell your Deen to achieve power, the power you attain will have no barakah and you will end looking like a sad loser.
If you look closely, UMNO is now divided into two groups: the liberal/secularist are the minority whereas the moderates are the majority. Just look at the recent PAU 2015 and also the many roadshows by Pro-Tun supporters. They cried Allahuakbar (God is great) rather than Hidup Melayu or Hidup UMNO. The de-secularization of UMNO is one of the great legacy of ABIMization process (despite many of their leaders went astray).
PAN is UMNO (the liberal/secular version). So why would UMNO want to be in a coalition with someone who is a carbon copy of its old self?
7) Why not invite PKR or PAN? Are they not Malay majority parties?
Inviting PAN is a waste of time. UMNO already have their own set of liberal PANsters – see Khairy, Azalina Othman, Said Keruak, Nur Jazlan, Tengku Adnan, etc. But I strongly encourage that Najib and Hadi should extend the olive branch to Azmin Ali's camp in PKR. Why Azmin Ali’s camp and not Wan Azizah’s? In his short stint as Menteri Besar, he has shown to be a pragmatic politician. Whether you like him or not, you have to give credit to him for bringing stability to the state. So far, he has not made nincompoop statements as MB nor has he made any statements supporting liberal NGOs.
I could not care less if UMNO leaders get kicked out in GE14. Like majority of Malaysians, I believe UMNO leaders are corrupt and are out of touch with the regular people. Nonetheless, I believe UMNO as a political institution is OK and the PAS-UMNO (and possibly Azmin's PKR) coalition is a good thing because it give us complete assurance that if anything happened to one of the Muslim majority parties, the fate and interest of Muslim in Malaysia are protected. You can hate Najib, UMNO, PAS, Hadi Awang all you want, but choose your battle wisely and strategize. If there is an opportunity for safeguarding the interest of Muslim, take it. Remember, our first loyalty is to Allah, not to our party or our political ideology.