PAS to champion Islamic empowerment in Malaysia election

CYBERJAYA • Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is returning to its roots in Malaysia's next general election by championing Islamic empowerment for the country.

According to its coalition's election manifesto launched on Sunday, the party is committed to pushing through a proposed law that will enhance the sentencing powers of the Syariah, or Muslim, Courts.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said there was nothing to fear about Islamic leadership.

"Every religion has its own hudud. Hudud in Islam is an Islamic law put into place by Allah (God) to guide the people, not to punish them," he said.

"This law is able to overcome issues of crime and morality. When it comes to Islamic laws, we do not force non-Muslims to accept these as there is no forcing when it comes to religion," he told reporters after the launch of the Gagasan Sejahtera (Movement of Harmony) manifesto.

Gagasan comprises Malaysia's second-largest political party PAS and smaller factions Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan), which will be taking part in its first elections, and Berjasa, a small Islamist party.

PAS has said that it aims to win at least 40 seats and become a kingmaker in the upcoming general election as ruling coalition Barisan Nasional and opposition pact Pakatan Harapan battle for control of Malaysia's 222-member Parliament. PAS currently holds 13 parliamentary seats.

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi said the party could work with any pact or party provided they agreed with the Islamic principles in Gagasan's manifesto.

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the manifesto was based on nine main thrusts. These included forming a trustworthy, corruption-free government, increasing people's disposable income and providing them with new opportunities, and reducing the income and wealth distribution gaps between the urban and rural areas.

The manifesto also contained pledges such as abolishing the goods and services tax, reducing crime and getting rid of student loans.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2018, with the headline 'PAS to champion Islamic empowerment in Malaysia election'. Print Edition | Subscribe