PAS concerned about Christianization, Umno not so much

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PAS is deeply troubled by the DAP’s political Christianity whereas Umno appears indifferent to Malay voters’ concern about protecting Islam 

For PAS there are no two ways about it. Islam comes first and foremost.

For Umno – the United MALAYS National Organization – perhaps its priorities are in the order of Bangsa, Agama dan Negara. Religion comes second behind race.

For the Malay electorate, which issue is more important – Race or Religion? Maybe we’ll find out in the next general election when we see whether it is Umno or PAS which proves more popular with Malay voters.

Race rival, religious rival

The Chinese-dominated DAP is the chief opponent of Malay party Umno. The Christian-powered DAP is the main enemy of Islamist party PAS.

DAP held a party re-election recently on Sunday to pick its central executive committee (CEC).

Yesterday the national news agency Bernama quoted a review of the DAP party election results analyzed by political scientist Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff.

Bernama reported that Dr Kamarul had pointed out how DAP appointed merely one Malay, that is Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, to the CEC.

Ten DAP members get CEC seats by appointment while 20 win their seats by election through votes cast by delegates to the party convention.

No Malay DAP member was elected on merit to the CEC, unless one counts Zairil Khir Johari as a ‘real’ Malay. (But then again as is publicly known, Zairil’s Chinese mother only married Zairil’s Malay stepfather Khir Johari when Zairil was already a grown boy.)

In its report, Bernama said: “The Malay voice and agenda are likely to continue to be isolated from the DAP struggle as reflected in the outcome of the re-election for the party Central Executive Committee yesterday, according to a political analyst (referring to Dr Kamarul)”.

Focusing on the race angle, Bernama added: “Evidently, the DAP just wanted to retain a Malay quota by appointing Tengku Zulpuri although it could have appointed more Malay leaders to the CEC”.

Although DAP did not appoint any other Malay aside from Tengku Zulpuri, it did appoint many, many Christians.

⇓ Dewan Ulama PAS: DAP full of Christians

Bernama did not touch on the religion aspect. In this regard, Bernama is just like Umno that invariably glosses over or even wholly ignores the underlying Christian nature of DAP.

It is understandable that Umno – as leader of a multiracial and multifaith BN – would choose to downplay the DAP’s political Christianity.

Umno likely prefers to stick its head in the sand lest it rocks the BN boat and jeopardize the ruling coalition’s fixed deposit in Sarawak, which is a Christian-majority state.

PAS, being a solo or independent and an all-Muslim party, however is not impeded by the same constraints as the ever cautious Umno.

Instead PAS has repeatedly voiced its concern over the DAP’s political Christianity. This worry about a covert religious agenda permeates all levels of the leadership in PAS.

⇓  PAS research centre director Dr Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki sounds warning

Is Gobind Singh Deo a Christian, many are wondering

Dr Kamarul’s analysis aligns with the deep concern expressed by PAS.

He observes that the composition of DAP’s new CEC strengthens public perception that the party “has a Christianization agenda”.

A non-Christian, Dr Boo Cheng Hau, has been conspicuously left out of the 2017 CEC as compared with the committee’s previous iteration – i.e. the twenty DAP exco originally elected on 15 Dec 2012 (where Dr Boo had managed to finish in the Top 20).

It is quite possible that close to half of the DAP’s newly re-elected CEC are Christian.

An interesting development highlighted by Dr Kamarul is the overwhelming number of evangelical Christians who have been appointed to the CEC presently.

According to Dr Kamarul’s research, the DAP leaders appointed to the CEC who appear to be involved in Christian or evangelical activities are Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, Thomas Su Keong Siong, Dr Ong Kian Ming, Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan, Yeo Bee Yin, Dr John Brian Anthony dan Jannie Lasimbang.

DAP’s Christian leadership

While Dr Kamarul is uncertain about the religion professed by Wong Kah Woh, nonetheless he notes that YB Wong has often posted photographs in his social media showing his family’s church participation and celebrating of Christmas.

Wong is another one of the 10 appointed CEC members.

But any which way you parse it, the dominance of Christian leaders in the DAP is definitely disproportionate (way, way too many!) to the actual percentage of Christians in the Malaysian population.

Hindus, on the other hand, are under-represented in the DAP exco. Hindu champion P. Ramasamy – also Penang Deputy Chief Minister II – was this time neither elected nor appointed to the CEC.

Selangor exco V. Ganapathi Rao – who has a Hindu Rights Action Force/Hindraf-linked background – similarly failed to get himself either elected or appointed to his party CEC.

Nobody is sure who are Buddhist in the DAP leadership.

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