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Is Amanah relevant any more?

  • Amanah has failed completely to be the challenger to PAS and Umno...Malaysians will not waste our votes on such an ineffective coalition partner.

By Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

Malaysians had placed their highest hope for the party called Amanah that could make Malaysia safe from Islamic bigotry and extremism.

PPBM so far has failed miserably all Malaysians in stemming out the tide of racism among the Malays. The Kongres Maruah Melayu that destroyed the dignity of Malaysians seemed to be supported fully by that party. What was worse, Amanah was also there. What was even more insulting was that their leaders never said a word against the race and religious rhetoric of the second rate academics who produced those so-called research that missed the elephants in the room plus a hippopotamus quietly sitting by the side.

I remember many heated discussions with colleagues and friends who are ‘Islamic reformists’ about whether Amanah should be formed or that the progressive leaders like Mujahid, Mohamad Sabu, Dr. Dzulkifli. Dr. Hatta and Salahhudin should stay within PAS and bide their time.

I was most aggressive in arguing that Amanah must stand apart from PAS which has turned into a racist and an extremist party who found their new partner in Umno.

The contention was that if Amanah was formed and stood apart, how will they survive without a critical mass in support and grassroots infra-structure?

In Malaysia, grassroots support is paramount even though we live in the era of the smart phone and fast internet. Human contact among the people is still essential. After much argument and discussion, Islamic NGOs that supported Anwar Ibrahim and PKR, decided to throw their weight behind Amanah to form a coalition with PKR and DAP. PPBM was then nowhere in existence yet.

The role of Amanah was clear in Malaysian politics. Campaign for a moderate and progressive Islam that can be accepted constitutionally and educate the Malay Muslim electorates on the greatness of the Rahmatan lil Alamin concept.

Everyone knew that this was going to be an uphill battle the more so that PAS suddenly came into tons of money to place candidates in so many places unprecedented in the party’s history.

I remember many an election ceramah where we had to fork out money into plastic bags in the middle of the padang soaked with water after a heavy rain. I remember crediting thousands of ringgit in PAS accounts in all the elections as a sign of my religious duty as a Muslim.

When Amanah split and took a third of the members with it, suddenly out of the blue PAS had found money! That some ‘halal rasuah’ suspected was an understatement in those days. Amanah mounted an acceptable campaign with forums and ceramah that I had attended to in order to give my support. We understood that the big guns of Amanah had to be placed in mixed seats to ensure their victory.

When the result came out PAS decimated most of Amanah’s candidates in the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah. Amanah managed to secure a modest number of seats but better than PPBM. Malaysians accepted the result but placed much hope that the leaders of Amanah with the power of four ministries can turn the tide against PAS and Umno in dealing with Islam.

We Malaysians were dead wrong!

The four Amanah ministers settled in their comfortable seats in the ministries and started to be ministers. Well and fine but I was asking…hey guys..who is minding the war with PAS and Umno?

The WhatsApp messages of fake news and extremist accusations on non-Muslims were flying like storms and hurricanes. The mosques were deafening in their denouncement of the power of liberal Muslims and progressive Malays threatening the foundation of a pure Islam.

I wrote and called out the Amanah leaders to place their soldiers on the battle front by having forums and ceramah even though the battle has been won. I called out Amanah to name their second line of leadership to come out and challenge Hadi Awang and Tuan Ibrahim and the son of Nik Aziz. Call them out to a one on one or a two on two forum in front of the TV! Let’s go guys!! Take them on!!

But nothing came out. Mohamad Sabu goes around cooking and laughing and escorted Mahathir everywhere. Mujahid was in and out of seminar rooms speaking to intellectuals and officiating halal this and proclaiming LGBT photographs to be an atrocity if exhibited. Dr. Dzul had his hand full with banning smoking in restaurants without respecting that it is the democratic right of Malaysians to smoke in restaurants. I don’t smoke but I think proper places to smoke should be made for these people so that they can poison themselves democratically.

The three big guns were busy playing ministers while the country was burning in the heat of religious rhetoric whose level had surpassed the days of Ibrahim Ali’s call to burn the Malay Bible.

The term musoh-musoh Islam were hurled by PAS leaders…unchallenged by Amanah. The calls to jihad against insulting the Prophet were raised by Umno youth leader…unchallenged by Amanah. The degrading insult of calling Malaysians Kafir by Muftis were unchallenged by Amanah.

Amanah has failed completely to be the challenger to PAS and Umno. The Amanah leadership must come to the ground twice a month in public forums and ceramah. Are they too busy? What a completely lame excuse. How was it that they can come down many nights in all the by-elections we have had so far? Amanah need to identify and set the stage for their second and third line of leadership to travel the length and breadth of Malaysia to challenge every issue raised by PAS and to attack that party on many other issues. Why are they not bringing the battle to the enemies?

Malaysians will give Amanah six months to change and to be seen on the ground to mount a challenge and even to attack the extremist Malay parties that are becoming stronger and stronger now that even academics in public universities are on their side.

If Amanah fails to the task that Malaysians hope so much for, then I call Amanah…an irrelevant party for GE15.

Malaysians will not waste our votes on such an ineffective coalition partner.

(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)


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