FORMER Sungai Abong assemblyman Dr Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Salleh has described PAS’ aspirations to win back the seat now known as Simpang Jeram as futile because the party is no longer relevant in that constituency.
Dr Sheikh, the two-time PAS assemblyman for the constituency, said this is because the party’s slogan of ‘PAS For All’, which is friendly to non-Muslims, has been nonexistent since the passing of its spiritual leader Tan Sri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
“PAS used to resonate with my values; at that time, our struggle was friendly to the non-Muslims, and the ‘PAS For All’ slogan unexpectedly received an overwhelming response from the Chinese and the Indians. It aligned perfectly with my ideals.
“But when Nik Aziz died, the slogan died with him. PAS started to be someone extreme, and today it appears even more extreme with issues related to the Malays and the 3R (religion, race, and royalty) being played up. This is clearly not suitable for Simpang Jeram,” he told Bernama.
He added that was also the reason he quit the party and joined Amanah in 2019.
Dr Sheikh, who is also Pakatan Harapan (PH) election director for Simpang Jeram, pointed out Amanah’s struggle, which also started in Simpang Jeram in 2015, is more in tune with the current societal situation, more open and more moderate, in line with the concept of Rahmatan Lil Alamin.
“When they can’t secure support from the Chinese community, PAS will bring up the 3R issue. I believe that in the future, they will become even more extreme because Barisan Nasional (BN) and PH are part of a coalition that is more moderate, including the more moderate DAP and every other party,” he said.
Dr Sheikh stated PAS’ desire to produce a second doctor by fielding a candidate who is a medical professional in Simpang Jeram and using the Perikatan Nasional (PN) campaign approach, targeting and reaching out to sick voters, was seen as a mere gimmick to secure votes.
“Because I’m a doctor and a local here, I have been serving here since I started my duty in the 1980s until today. Even though I have retired, I am a doctor in service and a candidate in service, providing healthcare to the residents here throughout my tenure as the assemblyman.
“But this PN candidate serves only during the campaign. There’s a difference between serving during the campaign to attract voters and serving genuinely. He contested here in 2018, and if he intended to serve here, he would contest again in 2022, but I don’t see his sincerity. After losing, he disappeared,” he noted.
The by-election in Simpang Jeram and Pulai will witness a three-cornered contest between PN, BN-PH, and an independent candidate, with PH candidate Nazi Abdul Rahman facing competition from PAS Central Committee Member Dr Mohd Mazri Yahya of PN and independent candidate S Jeganathan.
The Election Commission (EC) has set the by-election for both seats to be held simultaneously this Saturday (Sept 9). – Sept 7, 2023
Main photo credit: Malaysiakini