Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party

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Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party
Leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat (Spiritual Advisor)
Abdul Hadi Awang (President)
Deputy President Mohamad Sabu
Founded 1951
Headquarters Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Newspaper Harakah
Youth wing Dewan Pemuda PAS Pusat
Ideology Islamism,
Islamic democracy,
Religious conservatism
Political position Right-Wing
National affiliation Barisan Nasional (1974–78)
Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah (1989–1996)
Barisan Alternatif (1999–2004)
Pakatan Rakyat (2008–present)
Colors White, green
21 / 222
State Assemblies:
85 / 576
Politics of Malaysia
Political parties
Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Jawi: ڤرتي اسلام س-مليسيا, Malay: Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) commonly known as PAS or Pas, is an Islamist political party in Malaysia and is currently headed by Dato' Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. PAS positions itself as a political party that aims to establish Malaysia as a country based on Islamic legal theory derived from the primary sources of Islam, the Quran, Sunnah as well as Hadiths, as opposed to Barisan Nasional's Islam Hadhari, which PAS sees as based on a watered-down understanding of Islam.[1]

The party enjoys strong support from the northern rural and conservative states such as Kelantan and Terengganu and it also enjoys strong support from developed state such as Selangor. It is also the first opposition party in independent Malaysia's history to defeat the Barisan Nasional coalition in a Malay dominated state. PAS, together with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (known as PKR), and Democratic Action Party (known as DAP) formed part of a coalition called Pakatan Rakyat following the 2008 election. Together, Pakatan Rakyat now controls three states in Malaysia which are Kelantan, Selangor and Penang.


The formation of Hizbul Muslimin[edit]

In March 1947, the first Pan-Islamic Malaysian conference at Madrasah Ma'ahad al-Ehya as-Sharif at Gunung Semanggul, Perak, was held. The conference was sponsored by Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) under the leadership of Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy. The conference set out to address the economic problems faced by the Malay-Muslims. It was meant to bring together the more politically active and progressive Islamic movements and thinkers in the country. As a result of this conference, the Majlis Agama Tertinggi (Supreme Religious Council, MATA) of Malaya was formed.

MATA began organising political events and meetings for Malay-Muslim activists to meet and discuss their plans for the future and the need to mobilise the masses. The Council also organised a conference on 13–16 March 1948 which discussed local and international issues which are of concern to the public. The conference participants felt that UMNO was not doing enough to raise important issues in public and that the conservative-nationalists were not doing enough to stand up for Malay-Muslim rights. Needless to say, the UMNO representatives at MATA were not happy with the tone of discussion set by the Islamists, which was too revolutionary and militant for their taste. The UMNO delegates reported their findings and observations to the party leaders. In due course, UMNO leader Dato Onn Jaafar began to issue warnings about the "threat from the mountain" (a reference to Gunung Semanggul).

The Parti Orang Muslimin Malaya (Hizbul Muslimin) was formed on 17 March 1948. Syeikh Abdullah Fahim, the paternal grandfather of former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, played a major role in its formation. After the second conference it declared that MATA should be reorganised as an Islamic political party. With the formation of Hizbul Muslimin, all political activities were transferred to the organisation. MATA served as the party's religious affairs bureau. However, the first Islamist party in Malaya was not destined to last long, as they were banned by the British authorities anxious to retain control of the territories, alleging that Hizbul Muslimin have ties with the Communist Party of Malaya.

Demise and revival[edit]

Many members of Hizbul Muslimin escaped the purge of the British and joined UMNO. When the ulama faction in UMNO broke away from the party, they formed an association called Persatuan Islam Sa-Malaya (PIS) (Pan-Islamic Malayan Association),[2] abbreviated as PAS. At the time, the association charter allowed for dual membership in PAS and UMNO and thus many PAS members thought of themselves as UMNO members and vice-versa. Eventually, the dual-membership clause in the party charter was revoked and PAS began to emerge as a distinct entity.[3] For the sake of contesting in the general election of 1955, the party was re-registered under the name Pan-Islamic Malayan Party (PIMP). The name was later changed to Parti Islam Se-Malaysia during the Asri Muda era in the 1970s.[4]

Recent development[edit]

In 1999, riding a groundswell of popular protest after the arrest and conviction of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, PAS allied itself with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Keadilan (PKR), founded by Anwar Ibrahim's wife Wan Azizah by forming a coalition known as Barisan Alternatif. In the general election, PAS took over Terengganu from the Barisan Nasional.

In the 2004 Malaysian general election, the party's strength was greatly reduced.[1] It won merely seven parliamentary seats, a significant decrease from the 27 parliamentary seats it had won in the 1999 general election. The party leader, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang even lost his parliamentary seat. PAS also lost control of Terengganu but retained control of Kelantan with a very slim majority of 24 out of 45 seats. [2]. The party's majority in Kelantan's state assembly was further reduced to 23 seats following the Pengkalan Pasir by-election in 2005 which left them with the majority of only one seat in the state assembly.

Alternative flag of PAS, occasionally flown along the official full-moon-on-a-green-field flag

In the recent 2008 Malaysian general election, PAS once again allied with the DAP and Anwar Ibrahim's PKR in an alliance known as Pakatan Rakyat. The party made a comeback in Kelantan, winning 38 out of 45 seats as well as managing to take control of the west coast state of Kedah, and formed coalition governments in Penang, Perak and Selangor, even providing Perak with its Chief Minister, though he was toppled following a series of defections in the state assembly the following year. The party also increased its share of MPs in the Malaysian Parliament from seven to 23.

Criticisms towards UMNO-led Barisan National government[edit]

PAS often opposed and criticised the Barisan Nasional coalition parties, especially with Malay/Muslim dominant party, UMNO due to their collaborations with non-Muslim political parties. However, for a brief period from 1973 to 1978, under the leadership of Asri Muda, PAS was brought into the BN fold.[5] The Islamic opposition party often alleges that the economic and social problems of Malaysians and Malay-Muslims are the fault of the UMNO-dominated Barisan Nasional federal government in Kuala Lumpur. PAS claims that after independence, social problems such as drugs, corruption and promiscuity have increased and blames the UMNO-led government for allowing these problems to arise.

PAS is of the view that its leadership can overcome these perceived problems for the benefit of the Muslim and non-Muslim electorate alike by establishing an Islamic state.

Political views[edit]

Entertainment issues[edit]

As an Islamic political party, PAS takes a lead at local level in opposing forms of entertainment which it believes will damage society's morals.

Sharia law[edit]

PAS has publicly stated its intent to instate what it claims to be sharia law onto Muslims.

The "Kalimah Allah" Issue[edit]

The Kalimah (term) Allah issue is an ongoing national controversy that has nearly divided PAS into two factions. The first faction is supported by Nik Abdul Aziz, the spiritual leader of PAS and Hadi Awang, the PAS president, which supported the use of Allah term for Bible publication in Malay. The second faction is supported by Harun Din, the deputy spiritual leader of PAS, Harun Taib, the leader of the religious wing (Ulama' Division) of PAS, and Nasaruddin Mat Isa, the former Deputy President of PAS, rejected the decision made by the first faction. The controversy was reignited by Lim Guan Eng, the Secretary General of Democratic Action Party (DAP) during his Christmas speech in 2012. On 10 January 2013, the Syura Council of PAS had overturned the previous decision made by Hadi Awang and Nik Aziz.[6] Thus PAS currently stands on the ground that the term Allah should not be used by other religions because the term is not replaceable, and impossible to be translated. Instead the proper term for Malay Bible should be Tuhan (God). However, the other two parties in the People’s Coalition have condemned this ruling. Ironically, UMNO has consistently maintained its decision that Allah term should be used by Muslim only in Malaysia. Former Malaysia's Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi stated that the change in ruling was politically motivated because of protest from the grass-root and election is expected to be very soon.[7]

Historical performance in elections[edit]

Election year Parliamentary seats won State seats won
Malayan general election, 1955 1 -
Malayan general election, 1959 13 42
Malaysian general election, 1964 9 25
Malaysian general election, 1969 12 40
Malaysian general election, 1974 14 (part of Barisan Nasional) 46 (part of Barisan Nasional)
Malaysian general election, 1978 5 11
Malaysian general election, 1982 5 17
Malaysian general election, 1986 1 15
Malaysian general election, 1990 7 33
Malaysian general election, 1995 7 33
Malaysian general election, 1999 27 98
Malaysian general election, 2004 7 36
Malaysian general election, 2008 23 83
Malaysian general election, 2013 21 85

Reaching out to non-Muslims[edit]

For the most parts of PAS' history, the party has generally only targeted Malay or Muslim supporters. However since the 2004 elections, there has been clear indication of PAS trying to reach out and win the hearts of non-Muslim Malaysians by way of moderation.[8] During the leading up to the 2008 elections, PAS had rarely mentioned about the setting up of an Islamic state, which has been one of the party's main objective throughout the history.[9] The call for an Islamic state to be imposed in Malaysia has been one of the biggest fears of the non-Muslim population.[10] The party had also used the motto Pas For All to woo non-Muslim supporters.[8]

For example, Khalid Abdul Samad, a lawmaker from PAS representing Shah Alam, has made rare visits to a church and temples to reassure non-Muslim minorities on their religious rights after the March election in 2008.[11] In a later interview with online news portal, PAS Research Centre head Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad would come to describe this as a "substantive approach" i.e. by incorporating Islamic elements of justice and fair play in state administration, rather than get embroiled in what he termed "(mere) semantics".[12]

On the 60th anniversary of the party, PAS officially announced the Chinese name for the party is Malaysia Islam Party (Chinese: 马来西亚伊斯兰党) with immediate effect. Previously, the Chinese name of the party is called Hui Party (马来西亚回教党) which the terminology Hui is unscientific and does not meet the international religious nature. The Chinese since ancient times tend to use the word "Hui" to show that Islam is the religion of the Hui's faith.[13]

PAS Leaders[edit]

List of PAS Mursyidul Am (Spiritual Advisor)[edit]

List of PAS presidents[edit]

PAS members of the 13th Parliament of Malaysia[edit]

PAS has 21 MPs in this edition of Parliament.

General election results[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
1 / 52
40,667 3.9% Increase1 seats; Opposition Abbas Alias
13 / 104
329,070 21.3% Increase12 seats; Opposition Burhanuddin al-Helmy
9 / 104
301,187 14.6% Decrease4 seats; Opposition Burhanuddin al-Helmy
12 / 144
495,641 20.9% Increase3 seats; Opposition Asri Muda
1974 see Barisan Nasional Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Asri Muda
5 / 154
537,720 15.5% Increase5 seats; Opposition Asri Muda
5 / 154
602,530 14.5% Steady; Opposition Yusof Rawa
1 / 177
718,891 15.6% Decrease4 seats; Opposition Yusof Rawa
7 / 180
391,813 7.0% Increase6 seats; Opposition coalition (Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah) Fadzil Noor
7 / 192
430,098 3.3% Steady; Opposition coalition (Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah) Fadzil Noor
27 / 193
994,279 14.99% Increase19 seats; Opposition coalition (Barisan Alternatif) Fadzil Noor
7 / 219
1,051,480 15.2% Decrease20 seats; Opposition coalition (Barisan Alternatif) Abdul Hadi Awang
23 / 222
1,140,676 14.05% Increase16 seats; Opposition coalition (Pakatan Rakyat) Abdul Hadi Awang
21 / 222
1,633,199 14.77% Decrease 2 seats; Opposition coalition (Pakatan Rakyat) Abdul Hadi Awang

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^ Farish Noor (2004). Islam Embedded: The Historical Development of the Pan-Islamic Malayan Party PAS (1951–2003), Vol. I, p. 72. MSRI
  3. ^ Farish Noor, ibid
  4. ^ Farish Noor, ibid, p. 87
  5. ^ Noor, Farish A.. interns/cpapers/noor.pdf "The Globalisation of Islamic Discourse and its Impact in Malaysia and Beyond" (PDF). Freie Universität Berlin. Retrieved 22 April 2008. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "OPINION: Moderation the key to success for Pas?". The New Straits Times. 31 March 2008. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2008. 
  9. ^ "Analysts say Malaysian Islamic party wins big with gentler image". Channel News Asia. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2008. 
  10. ^ "MALAYSIA: Racial Divisions Sharper After 50 Years". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 5 May 2008. 
  11. ^ "Muslim official visits church, temples". USA Today. 2 April 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2008. 
  12. ^ "Malaysia:Islamic Opposition on the rise?". 20 May 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2008. 
  13. ^ 宣布正名马来西亚伊斯兰党

Other references[edit]

External links[edit]