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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

> PAS: We stand for all races


PAS national integration chairperson Mujahid Yusof Rawa said the party’s success in administering Kelantan and Terengganu should convince Kuala Terengganu voters that it caters to the interests of all races.

"The candidates for the by-election are all Malays but Barisan Nasional is out to create the misconception that we only represent Malays and Muslims,” he said when contacted.

“PAS and I would stress that we do not only represent Muslims, but all races. We have strong support from non-Malays with the formation of the Kelab Penyokong PAS (PAS supporters’ club).

He said the club, which has close to 20,000 members, is proof that PAS has managed to win the support of non-Malays.

"PAS is not a racial party. We are one that is willing to fight for equal rights regardless of race and this is proven by Kelantan Chinese who have supported the party since 1990," he said.

Mujahid, who is Parit Buntar MP, attended the nomination proceedings in Kuala Terengganu this morning. He said 1,000 club members had accompanied PAS candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut to the nomination centre.

Yesterday, more than 500 non-Malay voters had attended a get-together organised by the club and party. Kelantan's entrepreneur development, commerce and unity executive councillor Anuar Tan Abdullah was at the event to explain issues.

For instance, said Mujahid, BN has been exploiting the hudud issue and creating confusion among Chinese voters. During the talk, however, he and Anuar were able to clarify misconceptions. 

"I would like to emphasise that if hudud law is implemented, it would be only on Muslims. Non-Muslims will not be affected. In Islam, we are taught to respect the rights of not only Muslims but also non-Muslims.”

‘Hudud ploy will fail’

PAS Supporters’ Club chairperson Hu Pang Chaw, when contacted, said feedback he had gathered in Kuala Terengganu indicates that hudud law is likely to be a non-issue in the by-election campaign.

"Unlike Chinese in other parts of the country, those in Kelantan and Terengganu understand Islam better. We know hudud only applies to Muslims,” Hu said.

"It is a national issue created by BN but I believe that non-Malay voters in Kuala Terengganu understand and will not be duped. Furthermore, Terengganu was under PAS rule for one term and they know the real deal.”

He urged non-Malays in Kuala Terengganu to vote for a stronger opposition, since the by-election outcome will not lead to a change of federal or state government.

"A stronger opposition will safeguard their interests in Parliament," said Hu, who was originally from Kedah but has lived in Kelantan for more than 30 years.

He said he has instructed club members to show a strong presence in Kuala Terengganu.

"More than 100 members will be divided into five groups to woo non-Malay voters in the Bandar state seat and also in Wakaf Mempelam. They will work hard to correct any misconceptions about PAS and its candidate," he said.

Hu described the selection of Mohd Abdul Wahid (centre in photo) as molek (appropriate).

"He is very friendly, affable and easily approachable. He is open-minded and well-liked among the locals and he is certainly the right choice," he said.

While Mujahid hopes that PAS will capture an additional 20 percent of the non-Malay vote in relation to the last general election results, Hu was more confident as he estimated that 50 percent of non-Malays will vote for the opposition.

"I feel that many non-Malays in Kuala Terengganu understand the national issues that affect them, and they will want a stronger opposition," Hu said.

The by-election will see a three-cornered fight between Mohd Abdul Wahid, BN's Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, and businessman Azharudin Mamat alias Adam, who is contesting as an Independent.

Some 80,229 voters are registered for the by-election to be held on Jan 17 - Malaysiakini.