Malaysia election: PAS launches strong bid to defend Kelantan

Manifesto includes pushing state as Islamic tourism hub, boosting access to clean water

A mural of the late Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat - PAS' spiritual leader and former Kelantan chief minister - in Kota Baru. While the much-loved Mr Nik Aziz in the years before his death started working with non-Muslim parties and put its ''Islamic state''
A mural of the late Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat - PAS' spiritual leader and former Kelantan chief minister - in Kota Baru. While the much-loved Mr Nik Aziz in the years before his death started working with non-Muslim parties and put its ''Islamic state'' intentions on the back-burner, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has pulled the party back to its fundamentalist roots. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Islamist party that has ruled Kelantan for 28 continuous years has launched an ambitious election manifesto for the state as it tries to fend off a fresh attempt by its traditional rival Umno to wrest the east coast state.

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has ruled Kelantan since winning it in the 1990 polls. Known as Serambi Mekah, or Mecca's Verandah - due to its long association with Islam - Kelantan is a fortress for rural, traditional Islam.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'PAS launches strong bid to defend Kelantan'. Subscribe