Analysis, Asia, Side Feature

Cameron Highlands By-Election: No Significant Changes, Let Alone for Islam

Malaysia: The by-election on 26 January 2019 in Cameron Highlands saw National Alliance (Barisan Nasional, BN) successfully defended their seat in the Cameron Highlands constituency. The Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) decided not to contest the election but form an alliance with BN to defend the constituency from falling into the hands of the Alliance of Hope (PH) government. This indeed gave advantage to BN where they won by a majority of 3,238 votes compared to 597 in the General Elections on May 2018.


The result of the elections in Cameron Highlands will not result in any significant changes. On the other hand, the Alliance of Hope (PH) government. PH government are unable to gather votes as they did in other places. Though some view this as a rejection against the rule of the PH due to the increasing hatred and resentment against the new PH government, this is not a benchmark of the reception of the people of the new government. This is because the Cameron Highlands constituency was indeed won by the BN in the General Elections before in May 2019. The difference is that PAS and BN could form a strong alliance against PH.

Other views that the BN’s victory was marred by racism and religious sentiments which was perpetrated against the PH government. This could be an accepted fact, but as was explained earlier, the constituency was indeed as BN stronghold, the only difference was the larger winning majority which they have gained in this by-election.

In assessing the current situation, Muslims must view this in a wider context. Indeed, Muslims have experienced mush resentment against the new PH government, since coming into power last year. There are many manifesto which is not been fulfilled by the new government. Thus many have questioned the credibility of the PH government. Muslims have also witnessed the rise of the secular and liberal entities in the new government which continues to dispute the position of Islam and Muslims in the country. The rise of liberalism and secular fractions was accelerated since the takeover of the new government.

Indeed, the context which should be viewed by Muslims is that a regime change by merely changing faces does not solve the problems in the country, but simply aggravates the situation further. The dissatisfaction against the new government is the lack of concern over issues pertaining to Islam and Muslims in the country. This is due to the Muslims who are aware that they cannot allow the munkar and corruption happening due to the lackadaisical attitude of the PH government.

On the other hand, due to this dissatisfaction against the new government, must the Muslims return to the old regime? In fact, the old ousted regime did not even implement Islam during their 60-year rule. Indeed, as voiced by Hizb ut Tahrir, the correct change cannot be achieved by simply a regime change, but a comprehensive change in the ruling system. The political situation in Malaysia is a living proof to this fact. So if the Muslims want a real change, they must not only have a regime change but also the systemic change to the system which is based on revelation, or the system of the Khilafah (Caliphate). Only by implementing the Khilafah ruling system, a complete implementation of Islam can be achieved and bring blessings to the whole world.


Mohammad Jasman