The Malaysian Islamic Party, PAS, is no exception to the rule, and for that reason we need to be cautious when referring to PAS as if it was a singular person. PAS — like all the parties in Malaysia and elsewhere — is a complex composite entity with a myriad of streams, schools of thought, ideological leanings as well as a colourful history to match.
When PAS was first formed —as a splinter party from Umno, mind you —in 1951, it was led by moderate Islamists like Dr Abbas Elias who were mostly nationalists who were committed to the cause of national liberation and independence. It was during the leadership of Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy and Dr Zulkiflee Muhammad (1956-1969) that PAS was the Islamist party that was championing the cause of independence and which gave its support to progressive anti-colonial movements and workers groups both in Malaysia and abroad.
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