However, have there been a greater understanding of PAS as a political organisation, as well as much improved relationship with some of the leaders within PAS? Absolutely. I'll go so far as to say that I'm proud to be sitting on the same side of Parliament with some of these PAS leaders, whom I've grown to have tremendous amount of respect for.
As an example, I am completely impressed by PAS Member of Parliament for Shah Alam, Khalid Samad (for those who may not know, he's also Datuk Shahrir Samad's younger brother). If he is my MP, I'll give my vote to him any time, irrespective of who is challenging him from Barisan Nasional, be it UMNO, MCA or Gerakan. I can also say with utmost certainty that he will be one of the PAS candidates whom I'll be personally campaigning hard and actively for, in the next general elections - whenever and wherever he chooses to stand.
Checkout for example, one of his recent column contributions to The Malaysian Insider, entitled "A Question of Morality". It's certainly no ordinary piece, if you were to have a stereotypical impression of PAS leaders.
On differences on morality:
For Pas we have a clearly defined set of right and wrong, moral and immoral and although it may have similarities with some universal values, there are some huge differences particularly in that of the “personal arena”. What Pas and Islam see as immoral may be something quite acceptable in the eyes of other cultures. Take the question of drinking wine, for example. Similarly, there are items which Islam accepts, which to other cultures is not quite as acceptable. The easiest example here would be polygamy.And on over-zealousness:
Actually it is this kind of zealousness which the non-Muslims fear from Pas and this is where we must emulate the spirit of the Islam more accurately. We should not become zealous moralists who wish to enforce their moral code on others. As I always say, preach, reason and argue with them in the best of ways. Never give them the impression that we wish to impose something on them irrespective of how noble the intentions. That was the way of the Prophet and that too must be our way.Read of course, the full article for context. With enlightened leaders such as Khalid Samad, I certainly see no reason why the Pakatan Rakyat "shotgun" coalition cannot withstand the test of time. Instead, I can possibly imagine that the coalition partners can increase their mutual respect for each other with better understanding, which will ultimately deliver a better and brighter Malaysia in time to come. ;-)