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Feb 22, 2008



JOHOR BARU: Kumutha Raman looked nervous as pressmen, armed with notebooks and recorders, jostled for an interview with her.

Johor Pas commissioner Datuk Mahfodz Mohamed (left) with Kumutha Raman, the first non-Muslim womanfemale to be fielded as a candidate by the party, who will contest the Ulu Tiram state seat. On her right is her brother R. Logeswaran.

The 29-year-old law graduate, who had just been named as the first non-Muslim candidate to be fielded by Pas, listened attentively to the questions hurled at her, when Johor Pas announced its candidates at the headquarters in Batu Pahat.

She is contesting the Tiram state seat. But knowing the realities, perhaps Pas is fielding her under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat symbol, based on the electoral pact the two parties have made.

Still, is she in for a culture shock? Will she be able to speak the language of Pas where Arabic phrases and Quranic verses matter most? Will she have to physically cover herself more than ever?

"I know I won't feel alienated because I believe voters nowadays are open-minded," she said.

"I also know that Muslims and non-Muslims will be able to accept me."

A member of the one-month old Unity Bureau under the Johor non-Muslim Pas Supporters Club, Kumutha may be oblivious to the fact that she had broken the conservative Islamic party's 61-year-old tradition of only fielding Muslims as candidates.

"I joined the club because I see that Pas is not bent on racialism. To me all races, be they Malays, Chinese or Indians, are the same."

Making the announcement about Kumutha was Johor Pas commissioner Datuk Mahfodz Mohamed, who said the move signified Pas' tolerance towards other races.

Pas will be contesting in 34 state seats and nine parliamentary seats.

The party lost all the 37 state seats and 11 parliamentary constituencies it contested in the last general election.

This time around, fresh faces made-up one-third of the candidates and none of them were Pas Women's Wing leaders.

Ostensibly, the Johor Baru lass's candidacy is to woo support for the Islamist party from non-Muslim voters in Tiram, especially the Indian vote which comprises 14.39 per cent of that area's voters.

However, even during the announcement, there were murmurs of uncertainty amidst the applause following Kumutha's nomination.

"She is new, too new. And this is quite a task for her.

"The party leadership may want to introduce someone fresh to the party, but the members fear that too much hope is being placed on her.

"She may not be able to do it," a party member said.

Tebrau MIC division chief M. Soorianarayanan, whose division is in Tiram, was even more caustic.

"What is Pas doing? They are going to humiliate the girl and destroy her future in politics. The Indian community is going to hate her for aligning with the opposition," Soorianarayanan said.

The Tiram constituency is a Barisan Nasional stronghold.

In the 2004 election, BN's Maulizan Bujang beat Pas' Roslani Sharif, by a margin of 15,595 votes and the coalition is expected to repeat the feat.

Perhaps Kumutha's candidancy is to serve a greater goal in Pas' strategy to make it more relevant to Malaysians.

JD says:"I can see BN screaming that this is just an eyewash from PAS to garner Indian votes.MIC has already started that PAS is doing this with bad intentions.To all my Malaysian Indian brothers and sisters BN has been telling us this for the past 50 years.Whatever said and done,hasnt PAS bent over and given a Malaysian Indian a seat? Let the BN machinery say what they like we should just give our votes to the opposition, be it PKR,PAS or DAP.PAS maybe better then BN for all we know.I am sure we can give them a try since even now we dont have much of a future in the hands of BN and MIC".

Also refer,
PAS kemuka dua calon bukan Melayu

PAS bukan parti perkauman. Sekali lagi menjelang PRU ini PAS membuktikan hakikat itu apabila tampil mengemukakan dua orang calon bukan Melayu bagi bertanding di Kelantan dan Perak. Mereka adalah AJK PAS Pusat Datuk Anuar Tan yang akan mempertahankan kerusi DUN Kota Lama nya di Kelantan, manakala seorang algi calon adalah Dr. Khalil Idham Lim Abdullah di DUN Titi Serong, Perak.

Alangkah sejuk mata dan senang hati kita melihat betapa saudara-saudara kita dari kaum selain Melayu boleh sama-sama memegang panji-panji perjuangan, bagi menegakkan keadilan dan merobohkan kezaliman ini. More...


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