|Pas Party Flag Image From Wikipedia|
In fact, Malaysians who love the country have long yearned for a viable alternative to the long ruling Barisan coalition.
So when Anwar Ibrahim was finally able to bring three quite disparate parties together as a single coalition in Pakatan to challenge Barisan's long hegemony, all of us were happy.
But at the back of my mind I have always felt uneasy about Pas as a coalition partner of Pakatan.
One must remember that Pas's ultimate agenda is to establish an Islamic state with hudud, something which is not agreeable to many non-Muslim Malaysians and I dare also say, to quite a sizeable number of Malays themselves too who, for obvious reasons, may not want to openly oppose the establishment of an Islamic state for fear of being branded anti-Islam and going against their religion.
Apologists for Pas try to assure non-Muslim Malaysians by saying that hudud will only apply to Muslims. But I am not convinced.
It is always easy to make the claim when you are not yet in the seat of federal power, just so as to gain votes. But once Pakatan is able to wrest Putrajaya, what do you honestly think Pas will do?
Remember that Pas's entire rationale for being is the establishment of Islamic state in Malaysia. They have been trying to do this for a long, long time already since their establishment in 1956. Do you think they will just keep quiet once Pakatan takes over the federal government?
Of course not. They will push their partners to agree and then it will be difficult for PKR and DAP to not concede because the stakes will be too high - the loss of the federal government on pain of Pas threatening to leave the coalition.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.
Okay, I can hear Pas apologists saying again that hudud won't apply to the non-Muslims anyway, so what does the non-Muslim Malaysians have to fear for?
Really? Do you honestly think this can be done without applying hudud to the non-Muslims too?
Imagine the case of a Muslim woman committing zina with a non-Muslim man. The poor Muslim woman gets stoned to death and the non-Muslim man gets away with a slap on the wrist? Does this look just and equitable to you, even as a non-Muslim?
Or take the case of a Muslim man stealing something worth only a few hundred ringgit and a non-Muslim man a few million. The poor Muslim guy gets his hand chopped off and the non Muslim fellow a few years in the slammer? Does that also look just and equitable to you too?
No can do. Either hudud applies to all, or it doesn't.
Just look at what is happening in Kelantan already. Pas is not yet in the federal government and what they are doing there is nothing short of implementing hudud the back-door way, which makes it even more reprehensible and completely unacceptable.
What do you think the Kota Bahru municipal council's action in issuing summons to unisex saloons owned by non-Muslim Malaysians amounts to? (See story The Star 26 Nov 2012)
As far as my, and I believe many ordinary Malaysians', understanding of the law is concerned, cutting the hair of an opposite sex is not an offence under Malaysian law.
The excuse by the Kelantan Pas government that unisex saloons are convenient places for immoral activities is really facetious. If they have evidence of any immoral activities in the saloons, what have they been doing?
Why don't they report the offences to the police and let the latter take care of them? After all, it is the police's duty to investigate any criminal offence and bring those responsible to court?
I, for one, go to unisex saloon to have my hair cut. But I don't find anybody trying to corrupt me nor do I find immoral activities going on there.
Nowadays, who don't go to unisex hair saloon for their hair cut? Whether you are young or old, male or female or even babes in their mothers' arms, we all go to the unisex saloon to have our hair cut or done or styled.
The traditional barber is as extinct as the dodo. But even if he is less dead or extinct as the dodo, who is Pas to dictate where or how we want to have our hair cut or done or styled. Are they the Taliban?
The Talibs don't cut their hair and they will even shoot you if you flew kites! That's how one thing leads to another.
If you want to be 'bad', you will always find a way or a place to do it. Why go to a unisex hair saloon for that? You can do it anywhere, including in posh five star hotels or at the budget ones or even in your parents' home or in the park or even in places of worship.
Just because there may be some places that pass off as unisex hair saloons where some hanky panky may take place, doesn't justify harassing the owners of unisex hair saloons.
Or is the Kelantan state government trying to use the claim of unisex saloons as places where immoral activities take place as a convenient pretext to implement hudud the back-door way via municipal or local council bye-laws?
Arguing that in Kuala Lumpur, there are separate coaches in the KTM commuter trains for male and female passengers and also separate buses for male and female passengers to justify their own action, is not even ingenious.
If you get into the wrong coach or bus, nobody is going to fine you. It is not a criminal offence. At most, you get stared at or someone asks you to get off. Even here, not all Malaysians are agreeable to the segregation.
It is time for PKR and DAP to strike out on their own together as a different coalition. Unfortunately, it is a little too close to the 13th general election for this to happen to be comfortable.