If you are on the west coast or the south of West Malaysia, you have to visit Kelantan Darul Naim, the ‘Blissful Abode’ on the northeast coast at least once.
The state is almost synonymous with PAS, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (Islamic Party of Malaysia). PAS is a component party of Pakatan Rakyat who form the opposition in Parliament.
Kelantan has been under PAS rule for two lengthy periods. The first period of their rule here began two years after independence and lasted for 19 years (1959 – 1978). For a brief period from 1973 – 1978, the leadership of PAS then had decided to join Barisan Nasional.
However, in the 1990 general election, PAS together with its Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah (APU) alliance returned with an over whelming victory winning all 39 state and 13 parliamentary seats.
95 percent of the Kelantanese are ethnic Malay Muslims. The other ethnic groups include the Siamese, Chinese and Indians.
The non-Muslim rights are respected here. There are a number of Buddhist wats and Chinese temples, some deemed the largest of their kind in Southeast Asia.
Visit Bachok, Tumpat, Pasir Mas, Kuala Krai, Gua Musang and of course the state capital, Kota Bharu to count the number of grandly-built, new and old, places of worship of the non-Muslims. To cater for the close to 1 percent Hindu and Punjabi/Sikh communities, there are several large Kuils and Gurdwaras. There are several churches for the Christian congregations. Some denominations conduct their services in shop-lots and in multi-storey buildings too.
Watch the video for a look into Kelantan and witness:
This video is Part 1 of a two-part series.
Video by R. Vijay Kumar, Citizen Journalist