For a political party which calls itself Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, PAS is surely one hell of a chameleonic creature. To say that PAS is pragmatist would be an abuse of that term. In fact, to say that it is chameleon in nature would tantamount to introducing a new specie to that family of lizard. PAS' real nature is more like the Lernaean Hydra, the fearsome water serpent with nine heads.
This is a party which is so full of itself. It is filled with people who believe that Islam needs their help and assistance all the time. With people who believe that God is so meek and weak that He needs defending by them.
But the strange thing is this. When situation suits them, these very same people would embrace liberalism and would dance on the same dance floor with the likes of DAP and Anwar Ibrahim's PKR. Not only that, it would have no qualm in entering into a pact - a binding promise the breach of which, in Islam, is a sinful act - with PKR and DAP in order to form a political alliance for the general election. And they would sing liberalism all the way to various state legislative assemblies and even the Parliament.
Well, it is hard for a tiger to lose its stripes. Deep inside and within, PAS is still PAS. History would show that they have jumped in and out of the UMNO bandwagon for the sake of nothing more than political aspirations and desires. It is almost a vehicle for political expediency.
UMNO knows this. Hence the unity government gambit. What if UMNO says to PAS, come and join us and you would get this and that? And a part of this and that is the widening of the Islamist fundamentalism net in Malaysia? Would PAS refuse? Or would PAS, as is often in the past, fall again to UMNO's seduction? Would the defenders of Islam in PAS be willing to ditch its own partners - to and with whom PAS is bound through a promise and a pact - and forsake its liberalism song and dance? Would the temptation prove too strong for these beacon of piety and goodness?
PAS' actions in current days seem to suggest that these defenders of Islam are ready to change tune. In fact, PAS' true colours are showing.
On August the 10th, Zaid Ibrahim announced a start-up common agenda and platform for the three political parties which make up the Pakatan Rakyat. PAS of course is one of them. He started by saying:
"Pakatan Rakyat must firstly unite all Malaysians. We must revive the dreams of Tunku Abdul Rahman and other independence leaders."
Then he went on to say that the PR will establish non-discrimination laws. He said:
"Pakatan must reject the practice of discrimination."
The best was this:
“A Pakatan Rakyat government must be free and not instill fear in the public. It must have an open attitude and accept criticisms. This can only be done by establishing a free and democratic government."
Lofty aspirations indeed. A government which would not instill fear in the public. The establishment of a free and democratic government. I would venture to say that that would entail a government which would protect fundamental liberties of its people. A government which would not stand over the shoulders of its people like some self righteous big brothers, ready to pounce at a whiff of what it perceives as a wrongful and immoral act of its people. A government which respects its people and their choice regardless of whether such choice runs contrary or repugnant to its personal beliefs and practices.
Lofty. And as far as PAS is concerned, unreal too. And as far as this very Islamic party - who would have no qualm in agreeing to anything as long as it furthers its political agenda - is concerned, these are just words which may be twisted, liberally interpreted and even forgotten when the situation necessitates.
After all, what is so important about promises and pacts when there are other more pressing matters, such as the caning of a woman and the concert by a harmless group called Michael Learns To Rock (to call this group a rock group is in fact an insult to any true blue Mat and Minah Rock!) as well as the policing of the moral of the Muslims in Selangor, which require its urgent attention. To hell with DAP and PKR. To hell with the pact, promise and common platform of Zaid Ibrahim. Islam needs defending. And moral needs policing.
Can PAS be trusted? Or is PAS too chameleonic so as to render any attempt at profiling its true political stance and intentions futile?
Will the real PAS please stand up.