Perception and manipulation are the skills which leaders of Pakatan Rakyat have long mastered – including to the tok gurus of PAS.
To a newbie in the political platform, PAS may appear to be an innocent Islamic party with adaptable policies to the suit the tastes of their supporters; a rather radical Islamic party to those who want them to be radical and a liberal party to the others.
Those people feel that PAS brings new hope to the corrupted and secular Malaysia. PAS leaders promise a shift into a better Malaysia where Islam shall be implemented into laws and such. Among efforts done to prove their worth, they produce ‘instant ustazahs’ like Abby Abadi, once an actress who was said to suddenly ‘abandoned her fortune’ for a more ‘Islamic way of life’. Her ‘rebranding’ comes hand in hand with a new image; all done to convince people that ‘they can make a change’.
This way, PAS is able to attract those who are naive enough to believe in perception or those who ‘go with the flow’ of the society. They may see PAS as an ideal Islamic Reformist promising them a better nation. The majority of people in this group are the young generations, a lot of them are educated and with their thirst for excitement of some sort, feel that they are smarter than others especially those who do not share their ideologies. The idea of a mass wave of change is enticing to the rebellious blood of the youngsters.
Now that they gain supporters, how do PAS make sure that these people would stay in their grasp?
PAS claims Malaysia to be a secular state and needs to be reformed into an Islamic nation to the some groups but on the other hand only promise a ‘negara berkebajikan’ to the others who oppose the idea of an Islamic state. They claim that Malaysia is corrupted country. PAS also imply that Malaysia is too westernised to some groups and to the rest they say that the government is sort of too radical in protecting the Malay rights and Islam which is the religion of Malaysia.
The idea spread by the PAS leaders (and the rest in Pakatan Rakyat) is that the leaders of UMNO and Barisan Nasional are too corrupted and selfish. They are so money and power orientated that they would do anything to keep in their power and ruin the country by over spending and implementing bad policies.
And that is why PAS’s supporters felt that they need PAS to govern the nation. PAS tells their supporters never to believe in the obvious but to turn to them in advice. PAS sells the party’s own newspapers that was said to be ‘nothing but the truth’ to counter the ‘lies spread by the government’ in other newspapers. PAS’s supporters feel that the government underestimated them, but they know better. It produces that disgusted feeling of, ‘How dare they think such of me!” which is very influential to youngsters who tend to act first and think later. This planted hatred in the hearts of their supporters and in turn whisper false hopes into their angry souls. Hope for the better; hope for a change, “All you have to do is to join us in our mission and you shall be granted a place in heaven. It shall be a Jihad.”
And unbeknownst to them, they all had been manipulated by the PAS leaders, turning them from innocent supporters to obsessed questers who do not really understand what they are fighting for.
It sounds silly, doesn’t it? Crazy even. “Too crazy to be true – you must be kidding me.”
And that my friends, is the seal that shuts the eyes of their obsessed supporters from any shred of revelation of the truth coming from the outside their circle.