Malaysia Islamic party revives contentious plan

Malaysia's Islamic opposition party scrambled Tuesday to heal a potential rift with its non-Muslim allies after creating an uproar by saying it still supports imposing strict religious laws in a theocratic state. Husam Musa, vice president of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, drew criticism from other members of their three-party alliance when he told a forum Saturday that his party hopes to enforce Islamic laws if the opposition comes to power. Husam voiced surprise Tuesday over the controversy, saying he had not said anything new because the party's "policies are very familiar to everyone by now." "We stick to our stance and we cannot abandon that," Husam told The Associated Press Tuesday. "But we assure our partners that in terms of implementation, there won't be unilateral action. It must be a multilateral decision by all (opposition) members if we want to implement this," he said. The Islamic party has long advocated a theocratic state, a stand that appeals to many rural Malay Muslims, especially in its stronghold states of Kelantan and Terengganu in the northeast.