Amanah to stay moderate, progressive, say grassroots leaders

Diyana Ibrahim

Amanah’s grassroots leaders say the party does does not need to follow Perikatan Nasional’s use of racial and religious rhetoric to win the hearts of conservative Malay-Muslim voters. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 20, 2023.

AMANAH does not need to follow Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) use of racial and religious rhetoric to win the hearts of conservative Malay-Muslim voters, grassroots leaders said. 

They said Amanah needed to stick to its principle of being moderate and progressive. 

Youth committee member Sheikh Khuzaifah Bawaseer said there was no point in Amanah being the most pro-Malay or the most pro-Islamic party. 

“We cannot be more Islamic than PAS, or we can’t be more Malay than Umno. 

“It seems strange for Amanah to wear a tanjak (Malay headdress) and kiss a dagger,” he told The Malaysian Insight. 

He was commenting on policies that Amanah needed to form to maintain the support of Malay voters. 

Amanah was established by a group of professionals and progressives in PAS who were thrown out of the party following a clash with conservatives in 2015. 

This group of professional leaders rejected PAS’ decision to abandon Pakatan Rakyat, a coalition it had formed with PKR and DAP. 

Amanah, PKR, and DAP then banded together to form Pakatan Harapan (PH), which took over Putrajaya for the first time in 2018. 

Amanah’s ability to attract Malay voters, however, continues to decline as was shown in the six state elections held in August. 

PN received 60% of the Malay vote from the 245 seats it contested compared to PH who only garnered 40%. 

In the last general election, PN dominated the Malay vote when it obtained 54% followed by Barisan Nasional (32%) and PH (13%). 

Sheikh Khuizaifah said loyal voters from the middle-income group could shift their support if Amanah was too submissive. 

Therefore, Amanah needed to educate the masses about progressive and moderate Islam. 

“Even though it is not easy and takes time, the best way is to understand and educate the people. 

“Rather than us trying to follow the ways of other political parties. We do not deny that there is also pressure and resistance. 

“But that is the challenge that Amanah has to face. That is how we want to stay with our principles,” he said. 

Head of Amanah Kuala Terengganu, Zamir Ghazali, did not reject the view that the party had indeed failed to attract the support of conservative Malay voters. 

He said although Amanah was the only party based entirely on Malay-Muslim voters compared to other political parties in PH, it faced a perception challenge. 

He believed it was caused by the public’s inability to understand the political narrative Amanah had created as a moderate and progressive party. 

“That’s why we need the people to understand the reason behind the creation of Amanah,” he said. 

He said it was time for Amanah to move away from the narrative that the party was carrying former PAS leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s legacy. 

“Amanah has to find inspirational figures such as Munshi Abdullah, Za’aba, or Buya Hamka. 

“Amanah needs to reform its strategy, especially in giving the people an understanding of the real concept brought by the party,” Zamir said. – December 20, 2023. 

Amanah believes it is time for the party to move away from the narrative that it is carrying former PAS leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s legacy. – EPA pic, December 20, 2023.

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