PAS is on the roll and the party of God might paint the whole country green in the not too distant future.
Its strong showing in the 15th General Election (GE15) signals the coming into reality a Malaysia that will be shaped by politicians who will behave more like clerics than statesmen.
Once dismissed as a political organisation that mainly operates in a narrow world, it has now burst out and captured a broad base of popular support.
PAS is nearing its cherished gaol to be the dominant party that can pull all the strings and listen to its own voice – and that of the other Voice from heaven – when it finally becomes the government of the day.
But PAS – as part of Perikatan Nasional (PN) – did not make it to Putrajaya. The prize was near but far and the party would have to wait for perhaps GE16 for another shot at the coveted trophy.
However, the green tide that “flooded” the state and parliamentary constituencies has given PAS the much-needed boost to spread its influence – and propagate its policies and teachings.
It was once thought that only the elderly are attracted to the political ideology of PAS but today even the young are drawn towards this orthodox and conservative doctrine.
The young minds probably find it hard to resist the magnetic pull of a party which combines fire and brimstones in its sermons with promises of rich rewards in the afterlife.
All those 18-year-old Malay youths who cast their votes for the first time in the recent GE15 would have given their support overwhelmingly to PAS because the party is seen as the stout defender of faith and race.
Young minds are supple and vulnerable and can easily be bent by politicians to fit a certain purpose. In the case of PAS, harnessing the energy of the youths will keep the green flag flying high for the foreseeable future.
But PAS must not indoctrinate youths with its toxic politics of hate, bigotry and intolerance. To do so will only perpetuate a culture of fear and mutual mistrust that can eventually tear the delicate social fabric apart.
If generations of youths are fed on a constant diet of prejudice, malice and fanaticism, Malaysia will never be a happy playground for all to live and prosper together.
PAS must turn the green shirts donned by youths into a vehicle for fostering goodwill and not use it as its battering ram to advance its political objectives.
If PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang wants to use his youthful supporters for some sinister ulterior motives, it would only create more problems for the country.
Backfire on Malaysia
If youths are fired up with religious fervour, the force unleashed by them could be frightening and even potentially destructive.
Hadi has at his disposal this large reservoir of latent energy that he could use anytime he chooses for any cause that he thinks could promote his and his party’s interest.
But when will he unleash the green shirts? It appears that Hadi has one target in mind, judging by his relentless diatribe against one particular ethnic political party.
He labels the party “communist” knowing jolly well that communism is certainly anathema to his religion. If he keeps on crying “communists”, he will be whipping up the emotion of his young supporters to a dangerously high pitch.
And when Hadi blames non-Muslims for being the major cause of corruption, he is widening his target in his holy war that the young blood ‘hounds’ would readily take up with devastating consequences.
The green dawn might herald good tidings to PAS but bad news to others who pin their hope on seeing a multiracial society grow from strength to strength under the benign influence of interfaith harmony rather than discord. – Nov 29, 2022
Phlip Rodrigues is a former journalist.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.