Monday, May 24, 2010

PAS amiable to extra seats for non-Muslims

KLANG, May 23 — PAS is willing to allocate additional state seats for non-Muslims who do not get elected during elections.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said that PAS had successfully “amended state constitution laws” in Terengganu back in 1999, when PAS ruled the state, to enable non-Muslims who did not win any state seats during elections to be appointed as state assemblymen.

“In 1999 PAS made a proactive move in Terengganu. Back then, PAS had managed to amend state constitution laws to appoint non-Muslims as state assemblymen if they did not win in elections,” said Abdul Hadi.

The former Terengganu mentri besar told an audience at the launching of the PAS Supporters’ Congress (Dewan Himpunan Penyokong PAS) that non-Muslims were appointed to “represent the non-Muslim population”, since Terengganu was 90 per cent Muslim.

“This we will replicate [this] if we win other states, but until now Barisan Nasional does not dare do this,” claimed the PAS president.

Abdul Hadi said the allocation of state seats to non-Muslims in other PAS-ruled states was also being discussed by the party.

“It is in consideration,” said Abdul Hadi.

According to the PAS leader, the extra seats for non-Muslims depended on the seat “allocation in the state assembly.

“It’s a different process for different states. Kedah and Kelantan cannot do it yet because of different issues.

“Amendments to the state constitution have to go through the state legal advisors as well as the blessings and signature of the Sultan,” said Abdul Hadi.

PAS Deputy President Nasharuddin Md Isa claimed that Kelantan had already elected “non-Muslim village heads.”

The Islamist party has been on a mission to improve its appeal to non-Muslims, exemplified by the introduction of its supporters’ congress.

The congress has a leadership committee of its own, which consists of its head, a deputy leader, and five lower-ranked deputy leaders (a youth leader, a Wanita leader, as well as one leader from each of the major member races: Chinese, Indian, and Orang Asli).

The Islamist party has already said that it will consider letting members of the congress run under its ticker in the next general election, as well as nominating some to become PAS senators.

But the PAS president was mum on the exact percentage of seats that would be allocated for non-Muslims.

“We have to look at the necessity of the situation. We (also) have to look at Pakatan Rakyat (PR) seat allocations, because we do not want to cause any conflict with parties within PR. We want a straight fight with BN,” he said.

Abdul Hadi also told reporters that PAS would have negotiations with PKR and DAP before making any decisions.

“What needs to be negotiated is during the elections, each of us have (a certain) allocation for state seats.”

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