‘Sidelined’ in PAS, ‘Buddhist-Hindu’ Rawang candidate keen to champion equality

‘Sidelined’ in PAS, ‘Buddhist-Hindu’ Rawang candidate keen to champion equality

 

KUALA LUMPUR,.  Kong Tuck Wah, 62, identifies himself as a “Buddhist-Hindu”, who actively participates in Hindu religion events ? even carrying the sacrificial kavadi annually in Thaipusam.

Despite that, he also described himself as a staunch supporter of PAS’ proposal for hudud ? which prescribes harsh punishments such as amputation, stoning and death for Shariah offences.

Every since his candidacy for the Rawang state seat was announced by the Islamist party, the PAS Supporters’ Congress (DHPP) member has since been trying to convince voters how the Islamic penal code would actually bring more boon than bane.

In an interview with Malay Mail, Kong had touted his stance to the indoctrination session by PAS’s Evangelism and Caderisation Training Institute, which he labelled as a “PAS university”. He even received a certificate for “graduating”.

Kong said he now aspires to champion equality for all, regardless of race or religion.

“I want to serve the public. I don’t mind what race they are. They walk into my office, I want to serve them.

“Serve equally, because our slogan is ‘PAS for all’. Everyone is equal,” said the former construction machinery salesman.

Kong was also not supportive of unilateral conversion of minors, despite PAS’ public endorsement on the issue.

“The best thing is to let the child, he or she themselves to make the decision,” he said, when pressed for his stand.

“Not agree or don’t agree lah, but my opinion only. Best to leave it to the child,” Kong said, adding that minors should still be given a choice to pick their faith, if either one of their parents choose to convert.

When asked about his party’s internal election, where DHPP members themselves cannot vote because they are non-Muslims, Kong downplayed the issue.

“Election inside of the party is a bit higher level. It’s not for us. That’s why sometimes we also don’t want to get involved in the higher level.

“At the same time, they are also afraid, maybe those who are non-Muslims, would go and join other party,” Kong, said pointing to the recent exit of several DHPP members in Kedah into splinter Parti Amanah Negara.

While Kong said he was hopeful PAS will offer DHPP members to vote in PAS election, secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan told Malay Mail there is no plan to amend its constitution to allow non-Muslims do so “at the moment”.

“At the moment they can’t vote. They are not PAS members. They are, we consider as a unit in PAS only. They are not full members,” he told Malay Mail.

PAS has announced the nomination of nine candidates from DHPP, of which two are contesting in Selangor: Kong, and M. Rajan who is contesting for the Sentosa state seat.

DHPP was initially known as the PAS Supporters Club and in 2010, became a wing of the Islamist party with over 58,000 members nationwide.

Kong said while he believes and supports the idea of hudud, he does not plan to use the topic as his sole campaign fodder, but instead looks forward to purely improvising the welfare of the poor and marginalised in the area.

Previously as Gombak Setia PAS service centre officer, Kong has been running his own office out of the Gombak community market, where he handled many welfare cases.

He also shunned large-scale ceramah for going to markets and public facilities to promote himself, claiming this approach has slowly winned him support among the ethnic Chinese here.

“We look at the people like our own children,” the former Sepang municipal councillor and Selangor DHPP deputy president, said.

“As DHPP, we are a bridge. We want to bring the non-Muslims closer to PAS to see what is happening inside. If not you are just seeing from outside only. If you go deep inside, then you will know what is inside.”