Mujahid: Amanah going strong in Penang

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More than half of its new members have no prior political affiliation and 10 per cent are non-Muslims.
Mujahid Yusof RawaPETALING JAYA: Despite being just one year old, Parti Amanah Negara is already making impressive inroads in its membership drive in Penang, according to its chief official in the state, Mujahid Yusof Rawa.
Mujahid told FMT the party had been particularly successful in drawing people with no previous political affiliation.

“Many people think that Amanah members are former PAS members who followed their leaders out of the party,” he said. “Actually, former PAS members account for a mere 20 per cent of our members in Penang.”
He claimed that about 5,000 people had signed up as Amanah members in Penang and that 10 per cent of those were non-Muslims and 30 per cent were former Umno members.

About half of the new members were previously not affiliated with any political organisation, he added.
“We are delighted to see that so many of our members include those who had not joined any party before as it shows they subscribe to Amanah’s principles.”

He said it was possible that those who had no previous political affiliation believed in the Amanah leaders when they were part of PAS, but were hesitant to join the Islamist party.

“Perhaps they relate to moderates, but not PAS’ principles. They could have been fearful of political extremes but see a middle path in Amanah.” He said this might also have been the case with the former Umno members.
In the long run, he said, Penang Amanah was aiming to have some 20,000 members in the state but the current focus was on strengthening its presence in the state constituencies of Sungai Dua, Permatang Berangan, Penaga and Bayan Lepas.

“These are the constituencies which PAS lost in GE13 to the BN. Amanah has been appointed to represent the state government there and help coordinate the state government’s efforts and initiatives in the areas.”
Mujahid said Penang Amanah would strive to improve inter-racial and inter-religious relations in the state once it became firmly established.

“We will do this by spearheading programmes and dialogues to enhance better understanding between the people,” he said. “We’ll work with the various religious groups and NGOs.”