In the recent by-election in Tenang, MCA's morally tainted President Mr.Chua Soi Lek, embarked on an ugly xenophobic strategy. His plan was simple. He would cast PAS as a fearful bogeyman that non-Muslims, particularly the Chinese, must fear. They would then, he reasoned, vote for BN. In the event, his ugly plan would fail and he would fall flat on his face. The Chinese in Tenang showed great political maturity by continuing to vote for PAS.
In the coming 2011 General Elections, as in Merlimau and Kerdau, we can expect BN to embark on the same fear-mongering strategy. They will sell different stories to different races. For exploiting the politics of race is BN's specialty. It has worked too well for too long for them. And such habits are hard to break.
In fact, we have seen no evidence of PAS forcing their will on non-Muslims. In Kelantan, long under PAS rule, they live in harmony with citizens of other religions. As they do in Kedah.
The infamous and callous destruction of a long-standing Hindu Temple in 2007 was in Selangor. The Chief Minister of Selangor at the time was an UMNO politician and the ruling party was Barisan Nasional.
Yet BN goes around trying to convince the non-Muslims that PAS is an extreme party.
It is the opposite of reality.
When A.Kugan died in police custody, it was not the Home Minister who visited his family. The idea of moral responsibility appears alien to him. Neither did the Prime Minister bother to console the bereaved family. And they are both Umno and BN politicians.
It was Pakatan Rakyat and PAS's leaders who fought for, visited and assited A.Kugan's family. Tuan Guru Nik Aziz, the PAS Menteri Besar of Kelantan, sent a representative to give support to the family. And many other leading PAS politicians stood up for Kugan and his family by codemning his unnatural death.
BN, meanwhile, appeared to be defending his alleged killers, save for the crocodillian tears of some MIC politicians.
Pakatan Rakyat and PAS also unhesitatingly came to the the aid of Teoh Beng Hock and his family.
There was no help forthcoming for them from BN other than empty politician's words from the Prime Minister himself, which would eventually amount to nothing.
Umno is also the party of Mr.Mahathir, who will unapologetically not cease his unending racist diatribes. Utusan, which continuously harps on racial issues, is controlled by Umno. Umno is also inextricably linked with Perkasa. And Umno is the senior partner of BN, which it effectively controls.
Harakah, which is the PAS party organ, preaches no such hatred. Unlike Harakah, Utusan has no English version. It would not translate well.
In fact, PAS does not differentiate on race at all. And they are a leading member of Pakatan Rakyat, which stands for universal principles of justice.
Yet BN would like non-Muslims to fear PAS. If non-Muslims would like to fear something, they should fear BN, for it's record, only a few examples of which we have described above, is ugly. And BN's losses in '08 have not improved them, as some optimistic citizens had hoped.
Non-Muslims should certainly not fear PAS. PAS has done nothing to deserve it. They should, instead, vote for PAS, starting from Merlimau and Kerdau. Which would translate to a vote for Pakatan Rakyat. And PR parties are committed to the universal principles of Justice and Freedom for all.
Voting for BN will only result in the continued detainment of all Malaysians in the authoritarian prison that BN has turned Malaysia into.
Where freedom of speech is denied.
Where attempting to assemble freely will result in mass arrests and wanton beatings.
Where freedom of the press is non-existent and newspapers, hat in hand, must apply to have their licenses extended every year.
Where machiavellian manouverings and fiendish plots are the order of the day.
Non-Muslims in PAS constituencies should ignore BN's fear-mongering and calumnious lies against PAS, as should their Muslim fellow-citizens. Voting for PAS will help usher in a Pakatan Rakyat government.
A vote for PAS is a vote for your freedom.