DON’T be expecting any big fireworks display or any sort of open entertainment in PAS-ruled Perlis to usher in the New Year.
Instead, there will be a massive new year celebration programme organised by the state authorities to be held at the Dewan 2020 from 6.30pm till midnight with Aid for Palestine being the central theme.
It should be noted that the state government is targeting 3.5 million tourist arrivals in conjunction with Visit Perlis Year 2024-2025 or a 52.2% rise from 2.3 million tourists who visited the northern state in 2022.
In a recent media conference, Menteri Besar Mohd Shukri Ramli said activities will include nasyid performance by school pupils, Maghrib and Isyak prayers as well as talks focusing on the current conflict in Palestine.
However, the Sanglang state assemblyman stressed that there will be no restriction on other communities holding celebrations provided it is held behind closed doors or within house of worship premises.
The 62-year-old former teacher who has been in office since November last year was at pains to point out that only pointless and overt entertainment activities were prohibited. According to HarakahDaily, businesses and traders wanting to organise expos or exhibitions for the public are welcome to do so.
This sounds fair, doesn’t it?
Perhaps this is the approach that PAS need to be taking to show non-Muslims that they will not be prohibited from doing their own thing, so long as it is not a public show of “pointless entertainment”.
Such a conservative approach may yet fail to attract the younger Muslim demographic given that many were in attendance at the recent Coldplay concert but nevertheless it may cast a more positive light on the Islamist party among non-Muslims who fear an erosion of their rights.
PAS needs to re-discover the formula that led so many non-Muslim voters to cast their ballots in favour of the Islamist party during the 13th General Election (GE13) in May 2013. Yes, PAS was then part of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition alongside PKR and DAP.
Also, the party was then led by the charismatic spiritual leader, the late Tok Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who was admired by non-Muslims for his moderate tone.
PAS leadership has acknowledged that it will need the support of non-Muslims to take Putrajaya. It is certainly not impossible to re-discover that voice of moderation to make that dream come true in time for GE16 in 2027. – Dec 19, 2023