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PAS can’t wear its mask too long – Non Muslims be prudent

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The rationale that was offered by the PAS-led administration in Kelantan for issuing summonses against a hair salon for allowing non-Muslim women to cut the hair of non-Muslim men was that hair salons can be a cover for “immoral activity”. That being its own argument, how then does it justify targeting an electrical appliance shop?

PAS Supporters Congress head Hu Pang Chaw has revealed the case of an unidentified electrical appliance shop in Kelantan where enforcement officials walked in and took down a promotional poster with no explanation.

“It was a picture of a woman covering a man’s eyes from behind,” he said.

That’s right, a picture featuring just the face and the hands, but yes it is khalwat – close proximity – which PAS had explicitly promised would not apply to non-Muslims.

“No action was taken against the shop but the billboard was taken down anyway,” Hu added, as if that makes the intrusion any more justifiable.

As a non-voting, non-Muslim Chinese PAS member, Hu was speaking out because he fears Chinese support for PAS – or more accurately, DAP and Pakatan Rakyat – could be affected if the state government failed to resolve such issues. You don’t say, Hu? It is already happening.

Then he added tellingly: “There could be more of such cases in which the rights of non-Muslims have been violated, but not revealed.”

Hu’s astonishingly frank admissions again remind us that PAS in power is a nightmare for all non-Muslims. For one thing, its religious edicts are enforced arbitrarily, without any consideration for such things as evidence and due process which are normally associated with a fair legal system. For another, the rule that these laws do not apply to non-Muslims seems to have been suspended.

When the poor man trying to sell microwave ovens and vacuum cleaners sees the Kelantan enforcement officials entering his store, he doesn’t even bother asking them for a warrant because they don’t come with one. They walk in, mess with his place of business and leave, closely followed by potential customers fearing that they too could end up in trouble.

Just think of how these religious officials would feel empowered to act if PAS was in power both at the state and federal levels? Arbitrarily closing down businesses it doesn’t like would be a certainty.

At least the khalwat four, as they have become known, issued with summonses in Kelantan in the past few months for close proximity get a chance to be heard in court. Their first question to the judge might be to ask what crime they have committed.

Sitting in a car and watching aircraft land has not been gazetted as an offence in any state to the best of our knowledge, but that’s what two men were doing when they were confronted by religious officials snooping around cars parked near Sultan Ismail Petra Airport. The young people in the park might ask a similar question, as they are non-Muslims, and no law against their ‘close proximity’ exists.

As The Choice mentioned Sunday, the latest targeting of non-Muslims in Kelantan has resulted in DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng alternatively attacking and defending PAS.

“If the Kelantan PAS government fails to act against errant municipal council saboteurs who issue summonses against non-Muslim couples for indecent behaviour, this will adversely undermine PR’s message of respect for freedom of religion and damage existing co-operation within PR,” he said in a statement Sunday. Hear the tiger roar!

But when he commented on the hair dressing affair a few weeks ago, he praised the PAS response and the “commitment towards justice for all” and “upholding freedom of religion”.

What is it Mr Secretary General, please make up your mind.

Guan Eng feels the need to comment because he knows exactly what Hu knows: Chinese support for all the Pakatan parties is being eroded by the drip feed of stories about Chinese citizens being caught up in these legally dubious religious clampdowns.

It again begs the question asked by The Choice many times of late: Since a vote for DAP is a vote for Pakatan Rakyat and a vote for Pakatan Rakyat is a vote for giving PAS a share of power, why on earth would any non-Muslim vote for DAP?

What we are witnessing now is the thin end of the wedge. What is happening in Kelantan is just a dress rehearsal for PAS ambitions on the federal stage, and every voter of sound mind knows it will only get worse if ‘team Anwar Ibrahim’ wins GE13.