Monday, May 19, 2008

Perak party chief: DAP, PAS goals are compatible - Malaysiakini

By Jed Yoong | May 19, 08 4:44pm

Ideological differences between secularist DAP and Islamist PAS will not result in the Pakatan Rakyat state governments falling apart.

In fact, the DAP’s social democratic roots are compatible with PAS's agenda for a welfare state, said Perak DAP head and senior executive councillor Ngeh Koo Ham.

"Umno says DAP is a communist party, a (Chinese) chauvinist party, but DAP is a social democratic party," he told about 3,000 PAS supporters at a function in Pengkalan Chepa, outside Kota Bahru, yesterday.

Ngeh, who looks after the affairs of non-Muslims in Perak, spent most of his speech soothing the fears that PAS supporters have about DAP.

He said DAP is committed to creating a society with equal opportunities that also looks after the welfare of the underprivileged like orphans, single mothers, the disabled and the poor.

This, he said, is also in line with the PAS welfare state agenda, formulated in the run-up to the last general election. The party used this in place of its long-promoted Islamic state policy.

Ngeh stood in for Perak MB Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, a PAS leader, who could not attend the event due to other commitments. Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who was expected to give a speech, pulled out in the last minute due to health reasons.

Also present at the function were Kelantan Deputy MB Ahmad Yakob and state executive councillor Husam Musa.

DAP and PAS has long been at odds over their differing ideology, especially over the Islamic state issue. Their differences even saw DAP pulling out of the Barisan Alternatif opposition coalition in 2001.

However, the parties, along with PKR, have since come together to form Pakatan Rakyat, after their unprecedented success in the March 8 general election.

The Pakatan coalition controls five states and has 82 members of Parliament, effectively denying Barisan Nasional a two-thirds majority in the legislative chamber.

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