30 January 2014
Islamic governance is rising to the fore again in Malaysia as UMNO and PAS probe each other for meeting points while competing for Malay/Muslim support. Shariah, or Islamic law, is emerging as a new issue catalysed by Brunei’s adoption of hudud, the Islamic penal code.
ISSUES RELATING to Islamic governance look set to dominate the Malaysian political scene this year. New developments at the end of 2013 set the agenda for relations between the country’s two Malay/Muslim parties — the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). Both are entering a new phase of looking for common ground over Islamic issues, while remaining competitors for the support of the majority Malay/Muslim community in peninsular Malaysia.
Following the 13th general election in May, PAS and UMNO held their respective party congresses and elections, which threw up new leadership formations. While PAS continued its shift towards the centre with its slogan of Rahmat untuk Semua (“Blessings for All”), UMNO edged more to the right by its de-emphasis on 1Malaysia and a tilt towards Islam.
… Yang Razali Kassim is a Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. An earlier version first appeared in TODAY.
RSIS / Online
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