IT pays to be reasonable and sensible. It pays to be cool and to employ language that is inclusive. And it definitely pays to have a track record and trust in the bank.
Too bad, the PAS of Abdul Hadi Awang has little of the above qualities or virtues. By the time it brought out Takiyuddin Hassan to shore up support for proposed amendments to the shariah laws in Parliament yesterday, it was too late.
Not everyone will agree with the substance of the Kota Baru MP’s defence of RUU355, but he attempted to use legal and constitutional arguments to win over doubters.
He didn’t shout or threaten. He tried to do what all lawmakers should do – persuade and win over by reason and logic, not by threats.
Too often, Malaysian politicians and lawmakers try to win support by sowing racial and religious division. They attempt to sketch a scenario that everything in the country is a zero-sum game.
They use inflammatory language to rile up their base.
Hadi’s pet legislation was a tough sell from day one, and not because there is a bias against legislation touching on Islam. How can there be? Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country and Islam is its official religion. All the levers of power and influence in this country are controlled by Muslims.
RUU355 hit a wall largely because of the nature of the person who proposed it. Hadi just didn’t have any goodwill to sell his pet project to non-Muslim MPs or even to some Muslim MPs.
The man who leads PAS has done himself and his party no favours since his fallout with his Pakatan Rakyat partners after GE13. His language has been divisive and he has all but jettisoned the inclusive platform on which his party contested the elections in 2013.
Hard to imagine that the party he leads was once synonymous with calls for free and fair elections, transparency and a better Malaysia.
Hard to imagine but Bersih gatherings were a success because the PAS of Nik Aziz Nik Mat supported the movement wholeheartedly.
These days, it is hard to make out what does PAS stand for. On some days, the party leadership seems to swing the way of Umno.
On some days, it talks about working with Pakatan Harapan.
On most days, it seems like a political party shopping around for the best possible deal for itself.
On most days, the party of Hadiis unrecognisable from the party many voted for in 2013.