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Media Statement

The Passing of Datuk Fadzil Noor, a Great Malaysian

fadzil It is with much sorrow and regret that Aliran learns of the death of Datuk Fadzil Noor, president of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Parliamentary Opposition Leader. A warm-hearted and kind, yet strong and decisive leader, Fadzil Noor will be missed not only by his family and PAS, but by all Malaysians.

It was during his time as PAS president, a position he assumed in 1989, that PAS grew in strength and numbers. Apart from coming to power in Kelantan in 1990, and then in Terengganu in 1999, PAS also emerged as the major opposition party in parliament following the 1999 general elections.

Following former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim's ouster from UMNO and the emergence of the reformasi movement, many young Muslim professionals and business people were also recruited into the party, including into the party's leadership.

Dialogue with non-Muslims, especially those in other opposition parties reached new heights during the run-up to the 1999 General Elections. The result was the formation of the Barisan Alternatif, the new opposition coalition, and the release of the BA's Joint Manifesto "Towards a Just Malaysia".

These achievements showed that PAS and other critical Malaysians, within as well as outside the BA coalition, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, had much in common and could co-operate on many common causes, if only they are prepared to dialogue, to consult, and to co-operate with one another. Although the DAP did subsequently leave the BA coalition, close ties between PAS and non-Muslims have persisted. In no small way, Fadzil Noor, who was personally warm-hearted and very approachable, facilitated such consultations and cooperation. He was also patron of the Abolish ISA Movement, a network of 83 organisations calling for the repeal of laws allowing for detention without trial.

It is Aliran's hope that this legacy of Datuk Fadzil Noor to transform PAS into a more consultative and inclusive party vis--vis Muslims as well as non-Muslims - will live on. It was a challenge which Fadzil Noor was not afraid to struggle with. It would be a travesty of his contribution if the future leadership of PAS was to steer the party into an increasingly exclusive party with all decisions being made by a small group of religious leaders. We believe that this will not be so.

On this sad occasion, Aliran offers its deepest condolences to Datin Siti Khatijah Ibrahim and her children. May God shower His blessings upon the soul of Datuk Fadzil Noor, a great Malaysian leader.

Aliran Executive Committee
23 June 2002