Saturday, February 5, 2011

More and more professionals are with ‘the green party’

In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. (Qur'an, 88:21-22)

ABOUT ten years ago I had this neighbour who was a former headmaster (he was also a much respected religious teacher). He has passed away but memories of me with him who I called ‘tok’ seemed to be just like yesterday. Among other things, he told me the reasons why the rakyat must support ‘the blue party’.

He told me during elections, the people were given a mandate to choose top leaders of the country. If those leaders have shown and proven their sincerity, then it was our duty to give them our fullest support and cooperation including voting them and their chosen candidates at all levels including those who were not Muslims.

“We are not voting for the candidates, we are voting for the party with sincere leaders at helm,” he said.

In my opinion, the neighbour carried and represented the thinking of the majority of ‘old timers’. Other than him I befriended a few other old timers and from what they said and their way of life, they were in the thinking that only the ‘kris party’ and the ‘blue component parties’ - then it was Perikatan or ‘kapal layar’ (sailing ship) party thatcould deliver development and have the ability to rule the country.

Once an ‘imam’ (person who leads mass prayers in masjid) told me that there was no reason to shift to the ‘green party’ because everything was okay under the ‘blue party’. He said the rakyat shouldn’t gamble just because they wanted to give the chance to the ‘green party’.

“Why must we sacrifice the peace and abundance in life that we are enjoying now just to have changes?” he used to say.

The undivided support of the ‘old timers’ to the ‘blue party’ was understandable. From their point of view, it was the ‘kris party’ that secured ‘kemerdekaan’ (independence) and it was this party that brought wealth and gave their children good education until some of them had become professionals such as doctors, engineers and accountants.

Support for the ‘old party’ is fast declining; recent developments showed that PAS (the green party) and it’s partners in Pakatan Rakyat (PKR and DAP) have a bright future as more and more young professionals including teachers were joining it. Cikgu Normala Sudirman's brave and bold decision to contest in Tenang by-election proved that the younger generation including those living in the ‘kris party’ strongholds such as Johor are more open in their thinking.

Among the reasons behind it was they were fed up with various scandals, bribes and wrong doings in the ‘old party’. Many young individuals are seen joining the party to secure personal interests and the issue of money politics that cropped recently was the testimony of it.

A young professional (a doctor) who had joined the ‘green party’ told me he was puzzled as to why the old ‘kampung’ folk have the confidence in his treatment, but they didn’t they have faith in his struggle in politics with the party.

Several young Malay professionals interviewed said said Muslim must have Opposition representatives in the Melaka State Assembly to make sure that all matters regarding Islam are attended to. Matters involving ‘wakaf’ lands for example, must be dealt seriously and not handed over to any Ahmad, Ah Seng and Muthu.

Remember the mismanagement of properties (harta zakat) by Majlis Agama Islam (Melaka Islamic Religious Council, MAIM) as disclosed in the ‘Laporan Ketua Audit Negara’ (Auditor-General’s Report) for the Melaka state in 2009 resulting in the usage of ‘wang zakat’ (tithe money) amounting to RM13.8 million to complete Kompleks Perniagaan Al-Azim near the State Mosque (Masjid Al-Azim) in Bukit Palah? And what about the issues of MAIM properties being sold to third parties and the usage of another RM1.8 million tithe money for advance payment for the completion works of ‘Pejabat Agama Islam Melaka’ (Melaka Religious Department Office).

“People and time are fast changing. Why are we afraid of changes? If we are good, we are advised to change for the better. If we are bad, we must go for the good,” one of the professionals said.

Other than attracting professionals, the ‘green party’ is also making inroads with establishment of its kindergartens. With strong Islamic education background, these pre-school institutions are getting support not also from members of the ‘green party’ but also from on the fence supporters and even the ‘kris party’ leaders.

With the pacing out of the ‘old timers’ (the diehard supporters of the ‘blue party’) and the coming in of the new and young generation, there’s an opportunity for the ‘green party’ to make inroads in the ‘kris party’ strongholds.

Surely but definitely the ‘blue flag’ will be replaced with the ‘green ones’ in my home state Melaka, and insya-Allah (God willing), it would materialize in the coming N27 Merlimau by-election after the death on 20th January of its incumbent representative, Datuk Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hassan from Umno-BN.

Results of the 12th general election (in March 2008) of that constituency showed that PAS candidate, former army major Jasme Tompang trailed by only 2,827 votes compared to a majority on more than 5,000 votes in the 11th general election which was held in 2004.

So in my opinion it is high time that PAS Melaka secures it first ever state seat since 1974 (in that year PAS captured the Sungai Udang state seat but at that time it was a component party in Barisan Nasional) by capturing N27 Merlimau which has about 10,500 voters; 65 percent of them Malays, 21 percent Chinese, 15 percent Indians and 0.05 others..

Judging from the results of the 12th general elections in Melaka, PAS made inroads in mixed raced constituencies where the majority of voters are Malays but with a large percentage of Chinese and Indians. For example they lost with a small majority (about 2,000 votes) in constituencies such as N4 Lendu and N9 Durian Tunggal which has about 72 percent and 67 percent Malay voters respectively.

But PAS failed badly in Malays dominated areas such as Tanjung Bidara in which the Malays voters amounted to 93 percent, Air Limau (89 percent) and Serkam (87 percent). In these areas PAS candidates lost with a huge majority of more than 3,000 votes.

It is obvious that PAS Melaka receives a good support from non-Malays voters so in the upcoming Merlimau by-election, other than convincing the Malays that PAS is ready to replace Umno (remember the slogan ‘PAS sedia ganti Umno’), the support of the non Malays should be further strengthened with the help of its Pakatan Rakyat partners, PKR and DAP.

With the advantage it has in attracting more and more professionals including teachers who are now more brave and vocal as shown by Cikgu Normala, insya-Allah, PAS Melaka dream in producing its ‘anak sulung’ (first child) would materialize in the upcoming Merlimau by-election.

And hopefully after that, in the next (13th) general election, PAS Melaka could captured at least nine state seats thus paving way for it to take helm of the historical state of Melaka with the help of its partners, PKR and DAP.

No comments: