Parti Amanah Nasional (Amanah) refuses to carry the same branding of Islamist politics that PAS champions. This is despite Amanah having been formed by a breakaway group from PAS.
Amanah Vice President Husam Musa says that the party, albeit small in size, is for politics that allows everyone – Muslim and non-Muslim, men and women – have their say as Malaysians.
Husam explains that Amanah looks at Islam in a more comprehensive way, unlike PAS which tends to view Islam in a more traditionalist manner.
Islam can play a positive role in reaching goals to achieve good governance catering to all Malaysians, not just for Muslims
"The reference of Amanah is Islam but in a comprehensive way. And certainly more on governance in a modern understanding based on transparency, good governance and accountability. I think this is the difference between PAS and Amanah."
"I think Islam still has a place to play in Malaysian politics but what kind of Islam? Is it Islam which paints a narrow understanding of religion?" asks Husam.
Husam, who started to dabble in politics as a University Malaya undergraduate in 1982, explains that Amanah leaders, although originating from PAS, will articulate Islam in a wider meaning in governance.
"If Amanah fails to do that, I think Amanah will fail (as an Islamist party, alternative to PAS). I think Amanah leaders are very articulate and well trained on how to position Islam in a form of governance. We will see an interesting period where Islam can play a positive role in reaching goals to achieve good governance catering to all Malaysians, not just for Muslims."
"The problem with PAS is their thinking which is quite extreme. And if they want to come and join Pakatan Harapan (PH) now, I think that would become a liability to PH. PAS is not consistent - they will support us today but maybe two months later, there will problems and they will shake the coalition."
Although he did not win in Kota Bharu in the 14th General Elections, Husam says that he believes that losing the East Coast states was collateral damage to PH winning the Federal Government.
The main thing now, he says, is that he wants to see justice delivered to the people.
Crediting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the main 'game changer' in GE14, Husam says that the change to clean up Malaysia is well under way and that the PH government is on the right track.
"The point here is that all of us in PH want to see change in Malaysia. Tun Mahathir is on the right track and that is to bring change and to put a new foundationm for a new Malaysia. So, we (in PH) are satisfied with that."
"But how PH can develop Kelantan and Terengganu and uplift the economic conditions in Kelantan - that is more important to me," says Husam.
This is one of the reasons through which Amanah can stay active in the next few years to enable it to penetrate the East Coast.
"PAS has rooted there for nearly sixty years. So, we need time to penetrate. Our bottom line is to have a federal government and to have a representative government to win some parliament seats. Luckily, we also won some state seats in the West Coast of Peninsula. So, with this base already, I think we will have opportunities to persuade East Coast people to support Amanah in future," says Husam.