KUALA LUMPUR – MR B. Balendran is just like any other devout Hindu who celebrates Deepavali and does not eat beef.
But in his free time, he attends political rallies by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and helps to recruit new members for its Supporters’ Club.
And he actively campaigned for the conservative Islamic party during last year’s general election.
The 25-year-old engineer has roped in two of his sisters and several friends to join what he says is the best party to govern Malaysia.
Mr Balendran’s view: ‘If PAS takes over Malaysia, I will be very happy because there will be no more corruption and Malaysia will be in a good situation.’
The PAS Supporters’ Club for non-Muslims was founded in 2004 with just 100 members, said its founder, Mr Hu Pang Chow.
Its membership was at 10,000 last year, but has surged to 50,000 since the opposition made big gains in the general election and PAS joined the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance, he said.
Unlike ordinary party members, those who join the Supporters’ Club become associate PAS members and cannot vote in office bearers.
So why do non-Muslims opt for PAS, instead of the secular Democratic Action Party (DAP) or the multi-racial Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)?
Mr Hu said those who join the club see PAS as ‘being the most principled and sincere’. The bulk of the members are ethnic Indians.