KOTA BARU: His face glowed as he explained Pas’ decision to rebrand the party’s controversial plan to turn Malaysia into its version of an Islamic state.Sitting in his office in Kota Darulnaim, the Kelantan state gover nment’s administrative building, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, flipped through a copy of the Quran on his desk to read a verse from Surah Al Baqarah, which he said, explained the Pas leader ship’s decision to shift focus on the call for a benevolent s t at e .
The party’s decision to do aw ay with the term “Islamic state”, he said, was the right move since some people found the ter m un - acceptable, even scary.
Most importantly, he said Pas had not discarded the principles behind its struggle as an Islamic movement, which is based on the Quran and hadith (the sayings of the Prophets).
He said he had n e ve r labelled Kelantan an Islamic state, despite the state government grad - ually implementing policies based on Islamic rule.
Nik Aziz refuted claims that the party had discarded its Islamic state agenda to suit the opposition coalition, whose members, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the DAP, subscribed to secularism.
He emphasised that the benevolent nation that Pas was striving for would not be one that just focuse on economic prosperity.
“The term kebajikan or welfare in Islam is very broad.” Nik Aziz said Kelantan could have earned a lot of revenue if the state government had is su ed gambling licences but it chose to ban gambling.
“Gambling only brings about problems,” citing an example of a polic y of a benevolent state already in place in Kelantan.
Excerpts from the interview are as follows: On Kelantan being a model benevolent state • Besides implementing various welfare schemes for the people the Pas-led state government also has policies which bring good to the people.
On its benevolent state concept mocked by detractors • They are nationalists, who are afraid that our plans for the country, which are based on Islamic teachings, will destroy their plans.
On Tun Dr Mahathir Moh a m ad ’s statement that DAP chairman Karpal Singh had won, now that Pas had discarded its Islamic state agenda • Karpal had withdrawn that statement (his infamous “over my dead body” pledge. It was reported that the DAP stalwart had since apologised.) Nik Aziz said it was the former prime minister who had threatened to impose Mageran (National Operation Council) on Kelantan if the state went ahead and implemented hudud on Muslims convicted of penal crimes. He claimed to have proof, in the form of a letter.
On the possibility of Pas losing the support of traditional voters who want to see the party continue its struggle to set up an Islamic state • Support will not wane. They will understand why the party leadership is no longer focused on an Islamic state.
On Pas as an Islamic movement • Pas’ role is to spread the message of Islam in a practical way to all mankind, carry out the dak - wa h as well as take political action that will translate into justice as embodied in the Sharia of Allah to the people.
On Pas’ future and the role of ulama • The party will continue to be inclusive. I am happy that support from the non-Malays is increasing.
The ulama class in the party was not overshadowed during the recent party elections.
If we put together the votes of the two who lost in the fight for the deputy presidency’s post, the total votes secured by Mohamad Sabu is still lower. But we in Pas uphold democracy and members will throw their support behind the new deputy president.
Read more: Nik Aziz tells why ‘Islamic state’ dropped http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles//NikAziztellswhy__8216_Islamicstate__8217_dropped/Article/#ixzz1OljVoFup