News analysis

Quiet rise of PAS stirs concern days before Malaysian election

PAS only occupied 17 seats in the 222-member Parliament before the Lower House’s dissolution on Oct 10. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
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KUALA LUMPUR - A little-noticed aspect of Malaysian politics is emerging in the final stretch of campaigning for Saturday’s general election: the rise of the right-wing Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).

The dogmatic Muslim party – whose popularity is largely limited to the rural Malay-belt seats of Kedah and Perlis that border Thailand in the north of Peninsular Malaysia, and Kelantan and Terengganu in the east coast – has been the single biggest beneficiary of the chaos in Malaysian politics that has seen government control change hands three times since the May 2018 General Election.

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