Is PAS morphing into an Umno-like party?
This stirring thought is bolstered by the stark revelations in Claire Rewcastle Brown’s Statement of Defence and Counter Claims in the on-going Hadi vs Rewcastle suit in a London court.
The ideological shift of PAS was first forcefully demonstrated in PAS President Hadi Awang’s racial-religious supremacist statement on Aug 19, 2017, where he strongly asserted that all the levers of power in the country must be firmly in the hands of Malays who are Muslims, and Islamic rule must prevail in Malaysian governance.
In other words, PAS’ party objective has been drastically changed from “welfare state for all” under the former Pakatan Rakyat to the current “Islamic state for Malay Muslims”
Now, with Claire’s meticulous narration of the sudden unexplained affluence displayed by PAS and its leaders since 2014, which was attributed to the secret supply of millions of ringgit of cash from Prime Minister Najib Razak, sourced allegedly from state-owned 1MDB/SRC International, the fuzzy image of a racist party mired in corrupted wealth is rapidly sharpened and focussed.
SUCCUMMED TO RACISM AND CORRUPTION
Racism and corruption, which are the two pillars propping up Umno, seem to have descended upon PAS.
That PAS has toed Umno’s racist line is hardly deniable, as Hadi has never retracted the above-mentioned statement.
What about its alleged illicit wealth? Does PAS want to deny that it has been suddenly and inexplicably transformed from a poor men’s party to a rich men’s party?
If yes, then it must meet Claire’s allegations head on, and make credible rebuttals, and not indulge in childishly lashing out at scapegoat Ambiga Sreenevasan as a convenient form of self-defence.
Claire declared in her sworn statement that since 2014, Najib had directly or indirectly paid more than RM200 million to Nasharudin Mat Isa – former deputy president of PAS and now chief of Najib’s Global Movement of Moderates Foundation – for use by PAS and for distribution to party leaders.
These funds, allegedly sourced from 1MDB/SRC International, account for the countless millions spent in organising numerous high-profile functions and large-scale party activities, as well as for the new-found affluence of party leaders.
Among notable international functions organised by PAS at great costs are the World Ulama Council meeting hosted by its vice president Hadi Awang at his constituency Rusila, Terengganu in 2015, costing some RM10 million; and the International Conference on Muslim unity, held in Kota Baru in 2017.
CATEGORICAL ALLEGATIONS OF ILLICIT WEALTH
For the benefit of PAS members and supporters and Malaysians at large, and to facilitate PAS leaders to make meaningful response to Claire’s allegations, I will append below some of these newly acquired assets of party leaders:
· Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar, Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah: a fleet of luxury cars including a Range Rover, Audi 6, Toyota Vellfire and Toyota Attis. Built several houses for his family.
· MP and party secretary general Takiyuddin bin Hassan: a fleet of expensive cars including Volkswagen Passat priced at about RM160,000 with a personalised number plate TAK 11, itself worth up to RM100,000, and a luxury motorbike.
· Spiritual Leader Hashim Jasim: a Porsche Cayaman.
· MP & party information chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi: a RM300,000-plus Toyota Vellfire.
· MP and Dewan Ulama information chief Khairuddin Aman Razali gave his second wife a RM500,000 Audi Q7 as a gift.
· Secretary to Syura Council, Nik Muhammad Zawawi Nik Salleh: a luxury Mercedes with number plate PAS 9, itself worth around RM100,000, and a luxury Audi.
· Chairman of PAS Pahang Ulama Council, Mokhtar Senik: a luxury Mercedes, and a Toyota.
· Nasharudin Mat Isa, main conduit of funds from Najib to PAS: a BMW 525 priced at RM388,000, a Toyota Vellfire priced at RM290,000, a Toyota Fortuna priced at RM200,000, a Toyota Camry priced at RM150,000 and a Mini priced at RM230,000. A house at Banggi, Selangor, worth RM3 million, bought with cash.
To the above categorical allegations, party leaders so named must individually give categorical and credible answers, if PAS is serious of gaining public trust.
Frankly, these alleged illicit assets, which appear to be only the tip of an iceberg of a major corruption scandal, should not come as a complete surprise, as splashing of wealth, whether by an organisation or by an individual, is hardly concealable.
Similarly, the alleged Umno-PAS collusion, aimed at breaking up the opposition front, seems to fit in seamlessly with PAS’ strange and irrational reversal of policy from its fiery anti-Umno stance that had persisted for decades to one of patronising silence over the mother of all scandals – the world’s largest kleptocracy case of the infamous 1MDB theft of public funds.
Perhaps, what is of greater significance is the daunting scenario of how a purist party struggling diligently for 66 years to realise its Islamic ideals was wrecked within a few short years under the onslaught of “cash is king” philosophy of Najib Razak, whom Claire has used more than 38 pages of her sworn statement to narrate a litany of his sins.
Claire’s allegations were serious and explicit, and her lengthy narration packed with precise facts, which are of course open to scrutiny and challenge.
She had to mercilessly expose the truth down to minute details to justify her critical articles, one of which was used by Hadi Awang to sue her for defamation. These elaborate facts will fortify her claim of exercising her legal right of freedom of expression to defend public interests.
As a party which claims to be wholly devoted to advance the cause of Islam, PAS has undoubtedly reached the most critical juncture of its history, approaching now towards the edge of a precipice. Will the already maimed PAS halt its advance towards the abyss or will it take the plunge? The imminent 14th General Election will give the answer.
* Kim Quek is the author of the banned book “The March to Putrajaya” (http://www.themarchtoputrajaya.com/), and best seller “Where to, Malaysia?”.