The controversial Zhenghe Arch in Kota Baru, which was once embroiled in controversy, has been officially opened on mid-Autumn festival day. With strong promotion by the Kelantan Chinese Assembly Hall in co-ordination with other Chinese organizations, thousands of Chinese in Kota Baru held a lantern procession, accompanied by the rare appearance of dragon and lion dances. It was a rousing celebration.
Senior leaders of PAS which rules the state like Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob and party secretary general Takiyuddin who is also Kota Baru MP presided over the opening ceremony. The arch could be regarded as a showcase among the party’s few achievements.
PAS has ruled Kelantan for the past 30 years. The party has not achieved much in terms of material progress. It has done a lot in terms of spiritual development but shown not much results.
As far as the Chinese community is concerned, since Datuk Anuar Tan joined the Exco after the 1999 election, they are satisfied with the various policies favourable to the Chinese. These include allowing Chinese guilds and associations to buy Malay reserved land, allocation of acres of land for Kelantan Chinese High School as well as gazetted Siamese temples as cultural sites. Their satisfaction could be seen by the support given to Tan in subsequent elections.
However, PAS is PAS and it has never changed its goal of realizing an Islamic state. When the party’s political strength grows at the later stage, it steps up the process of Islamization resulting in the collapse of Pakatan Rakyat and the subsequent weakening of Chinese support.
Takiyuddin said at the opening ceremony of the Zhenghe Arch that the overwhelming participation of the Chinese showed that the Chinese still accept PAS.
Isn’t this Takiyuddin’s personal subjective view? I wouldn’t want to comment based on impression. However, PAS must realize that whatever benefit given to the Chinese community should not be paid with the acceptance of the Islamization policy. The Chinese community, while receiving the benefits given by the PAS state government, should also be alert, lest others think that you are supporting their ultimate goal of setting up an Islamic state.