By IAN MCINTYRE
KOTA BARU: PAS has agreed in principle to set up a non-Muslim wing comprising members from the party’s supporters club set up in 2005.
The decision was reached at a PAS retreat in Langkawi last weekend attended by all party leaders.
The formation of a non-Muslim wing is a serious indication that PAS wants to distance itself from the premise of Malay and Muslim unity, said a senior PAS leader, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Sources said the formation of the non-Muslim wing was also a victory for the moderates and technocrats in the Islamist party.
PAS supporters club president Hu Phang Chiau confirmed the setting up of the wing, saying it was a breakthrough for club members which he claimed numbered around 18,000.
He said they were formulating the structure of the wing, such as the office bearers, to synergise with the other wings like the Muslimat (Women), Youth and Ulama Dewan.
“The party needs to make a constitutional amendment expected to be tabled at next year’s muktamar where the non-Muslim wing should be formalised,” he said.
It remains to be seen if the non-Muslims would be granted direct membership or be regarded as associate members only.
PAS is riding high following its success in the March general election. It wrested Kedah from Barisan Nasional while retaining Kelantan with a landslide majority.
PAS’ Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is the Perak Mentri Besar while in Selangor, PAS has several members as state executive councillors.
However, since June when news broke about a series of clandestine meetings between certain PAS leaders with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the party fell under the shadow of the “Malay and Muslim unity” premise.
This created unease among certain sections of Pakatan Rakyat, made up of PKR, DAP and PAS.