Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party

Published 15th April, 2013

The Pan-Islamic Malaysian Party or PAS was founded in the early 1950s and was a revival of an earlier Islamic organisation which was banned by the British. Many of the original members joined UMNO and then eventually broke away to form their own party. At first there was dual membership of UMNO and PAS but by the general election of 1955 the party had formed as an individual entity. At that stage it was known as the Pan-Islamic Malayan Party (PIMP) but it changed its name in the 1970s.

The party describes itself as Islamist and believes in Islamism, Islamic democracy and Religious conservatism.

In 1973 the party became a member of the ruling National Front or Barisan Nasional (BN) but returned to opposition four years later. Up until 1999 the party had stood on its own and received anything between five and seven seats, although in the 1969 election it took 12 seats in the 140 seat House of Representatives.

In 1999 the Pan-Islamic Malaysian Party decided to join a broad alliance called the Alternative Front (Barisan Alternatif; BA) consisting of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the National Justice Party (PKN). As a result they were able to win many more of the Malay vote and increased its number of seats to 27 seats in the 192 seat House of Representatives.

Following 9/11 the party called for a jihad against any US led retaliation in Afghanistan which led to the DAP leaving the Alternative Front. There then followed several years of internal difficulties and in the 2004 general election the party only managed to win seven of the 219 seats.

By 2008 the PAS had become a member of the People’s Pact (Pakatan Rakyat; PR) the successor to the Alternative Front and that year it won 23 of the 222 seats in the House of Representatives.

The party is especially strong in Kelantan state and has traditionally won the state assembly.

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