Where is PAN-MALAYSIAN ISLAMI C PARTY (PAS) among others
Do believe that Islam and democracy are compatible and that the participation of Islamist political parties in democratic systems is permissible and, indeed, desirable. With this principle established, the core contribution of this study follows with an in-depth analysis of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), its evolution, and its political agenda. The experience of PAS, which has a long-term record of peacefully participating in Malaysia’s quasi-democratic system, may challenge many of the assumptions commonly held about Islamist parties, while at the same time reinforcing others. This dual result demonstrates the need to consider each Islamist group within its own particular context rather than resorting to absolute conceptions of what Islamism is or is not in practice.
Since its establishment in 1951, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, known in Malay30 as Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), has taken an incremental approach toward its ultimate objective of Islamic governance, which it has attempted to achieve within the constraints of the Malaysian political system. While most analyses of Islamism focus on groups in greater Southwest Asia, PAS has existed unnoticed by many commentators on Islamism despite its position as one of the first Islamist political parties – over both the Jama’at-e Islami of Pakistan and the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt – to obtain real political power by way of constitutionally-sanctioned democratic elections.31 As the largest and most powerful opposition party in Malaysia, PAS has moved the country’s political discourse away from issues of secularism and nationalism toward religious issues. In its pursuit of electoral seats, the group has adapted and evolved as a means of overcoming the considerable challenges it faces, but has never abandoned its central objective of creating an Islamic state in Malaysia.
Unlike the experience of many other Islamist groups that have been prohibited from functioning in the open space of electoral politics, PAS is unique in that it has participated openly in electoral politics since the period before Malaysian independence in 1957. While the context in which PAS operates differs from that of many other Islamist parties, an in-depth understanding of the group’s evolution and agenda could provide valuable insight into how other Islamist parties might behave should they be allowed to compete in free and fair elections. Despite the contextual differences that stand between the experience of PAS and other Islamist political parties, the PAS agenda is archetypally Islamist and could be mistaken for that of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt or Jordan.
Along with the changes in leadership, PAS undertook several additional policies to bolster its appeal. These include de-emphasizing its agenda on an Islamic state, calling for enhanced civil liberties and freedoms of assembly and the press, building better relationships with the Chinese and other non-Muslim communities, and enhancing the role of women in the party...for further readings..download it in my MY SHARE BOX entitled.."Thesis PAS"