Thursday, December 22, 2011

Umno's attempt to split PAS?

Things have come to a head in PAS with Selangor executive councillor Datuk Dr Hasan Ali and former deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa openly criticising the party for deviating from its Islamic path.

Then again, this confrontation is not really surprising or unexpected given the sequence of events and the newspapers and TV station involved in the developments leading to the very public spat that has been played up by Barisan-controlled newspapers.

The Malaysian Insider reported that Datuk Dr  Hasan Ali and Nasharudin Mat Isa criticised the party for ostensibly deviating from its Islamic agenda, during interviews with Umno-linked Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian.

"Hasan has also been featured almost nightly on TV3, criticising the party that removed him as Selangor chief after its muktamar in June," The Malaysian Insider reported. It is widely known that TV3 is also Umno-linked.

In May, Utusan had reported (falsely) that Christian pastors were teaming up with DAP to install a Christian as Prime Minister and have Christianity as the state religion instead of Islam.

On Aug 3,  the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) carried out a search during a dinner, organised by non-governmental organisation Harapan Komuniti, at the Dream Centre Complex in Petaling Jaya belonging to Damansara Utara Methodist Church following a tip-off about an alleged attempt to proselytise Muslims at the event.

Two other Umno-linked newspapers - Berita Harian and Harian Metro - reported that Christian organizations were carrying out covert missions to convert poverty-stricken Muslims by offering them cash, free food and housing and the reports appeared days after the JAIS raid on DUMC.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had quickly expressed regret over the raid and gave his assurance that the Pakatan Rakyat-contolled Selangor state government fully respects freedom of religion and rights of religious groups to manage their affairs in the state.

But Hasan broke ranks to support the JAIS raid.

By then, the pieces of the puzzle were beginning to fit into the bigger picture and it became 'visible' that all the plots - from the false allegations about Christians plotting with DAP (which is a member of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition) to instal a Christian Prime Minister and have Christianity as the national religion to the allegations about Christians using money, food and housing to proselytise Muslims - were crafted to cause a split between the moderates and the so-called ulamaks in PAS using the minority and hapless Christians as the bait.

Hence complaints by Malaysian Christians that the political leaders went on a Christian bashing spree to win Malay and Muslim votes seem justified.

Now the question is how the Malay and Muslim voters perceive the situation - do they see the criticism of PAS by Hasan and Nasharudin as justified or do they see it as an obvious Umno-orchestrated attempt to split the party?

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