Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Malaysian Islamic Party 1951-2013

The Malaysian Islamic Party 1951-2013: Islamism in a Mottled Nation

Farish A. Noor
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 280
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Malaysian Islamic Party 1951-2013
    Book Description:

    The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) is the biggest opposition party in Malaysia and one of the most prominent Islamist parties in Southeast Asia. Tracing its development from 1951 to the present, this ambitious study explains how PAS acquired both local and international relevance.Farish A. Noor charts the party's rise alongside the different ideological postures-from anticolonialism to postrevolutionary Islamism-that it has adopted over the years. Exploring how PAS has continuously adapted to contemporary realities, he makes an important contribution to our understanding of Malaysia's Islamist movement, as well as the country's broader political history.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-2181-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction Islamism in a Mottled Nation: The Story of PAS
    (pp. 9-16)
    Farish A. Noor

    In July 2013, barely two months after Malaysia’s thirteenth general elections, the country found itself at yet another one of the many crossroads of its history. A cursory overview of the headlines in the mainstream press would suggest that the Federation of Malaysia was being assailed by a host of internal and external threats; ranging from the revival of Communism (long since banned) to the scourge of Western-sponsored liberal advocacy groups that were championing the cause of women’s rights, ethnic and religious minorities as well as marginalised gender groupings; from foreign insurgents to clandestine Shia Muslim cells operating on the...

  2. 1 1951-1969: The Orphan of the Cold War An Islamic Party Steps on the Stage of Malaysian Politics
    (pp. 17-66)

    That the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, would develop into the biggest and strongest opposition party in postcolonial Malaysia was neither a fact that was predetermined nor necessary, though it happens to be a reality today. How this happened is the subject of this book, and in the course of charting PAS’s complex and convoluted story, I chart the history of Malaysia as well.

    Much has already been written about the arrival of Islam to what would later be called the nation-state of Malaysia, and many authors have dwelled on the theme of Islamisation as it developed over the course...

  3. 2 From Internationalism to Communitarianism PAS as the Defender of Malay Rights: 1970-1982
    (pp. 67-112)

    The demise of Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy brought to an end the ‘internationalist’ period of PAS, when the party saw itself as one among many Islamist movements worldwide that were working together in the spirit of postcolonial resistance against neo-colonialism and Western hegemony. That political Islam in Malaysia assumed this stance was hardly a surprise considering the availability of the vocabulary and discourse of Islam, and the fact that all across Asia the nascent postcolonial movements that had come to power were still busied with the task of undoing the mental, economic and political shackles of colonialism.

    PAS in Malaysia was...

  4. 3 PAS in the Global Islamist Wave: 1982-1999
    (pp. 113-162)

    The image of PAS changed according to the tone set by the Shia revolution in Iran which gave such a high status to the ulama in the field of government … Many felt that their (ulama) personalities manifested the spirit of Islamic leadership that they were looking for all this time. Therefore the ulama became the object of adoration and respect for those who fought for the Islamist cause in society.² Badlihisham Mohamad Nasir,Isu Personaliti Dalam Gerakan Islam Tanah Air

    From 1982 the Pan-Malaysian Islamist party came under the leadership of the ‘ulama faction’, and subsequently transformed itself into...

  5. 4 The Jihad of the Ballot Box PAS’s Democratic Experiment: 2000-2013
    (pp. 163-222)

    ‘Taliban are our Brothers’

    Slogan on PAS banner, seen at the PAS demonstration at the American Embassy,

    Kuala Lumpur, 12 October 2001

    As the new century dawned, PAS was in a position to count its winnings and survey the long road it had journeyed thus far. After being on the Malaysian political landscape for half a century, it was now the biggest Malay-Muslim opposition party in the country, with more than a million members, had managed to establish a presence in cyberspace and was in control of two states – Kelantan and Trengganu. For a party that once regarded itself...

  6. 5 Religion, Politics, Islam, Islamism What PAS Is, and What It Is Not
    (pp. 223-240)

    No civilisation, whether Islamic or un-Islamic, that views life from a universal standpoint and possesses a comprehensive system of administering the worldly affairs, can resist the urge for power in order that it may change the social life of all its subjects after its own pattern. Without the power to enforce, it is meaningless to believe in or present a doctrine as a way of life.¹

    Ab’ul Al’aa Maudoodi,Tajdid-o Ihya-i Din

    Today the ulama have become convinced that through missionary activity alone we will never be able to bring about political change.We need power. In fact we have...