PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s “Malay-Muslim cabinet” proposal is “seditious, dangerous, racist and extremist”, DAP said today.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Hadi’s talk about a Malay-Muslim only cabinet under a PAS-influenced federal government was not only “unconstitutional but would also lead to the break-up and dissolution of Malaysia”.
He said Hadi’s remarks must be strongly condemned.
“Hadi’s exclusive Malay-Muslim cabinet is clearly unconstitutional, as it reduces non-Malays and non-Malay Muslims to citizens of inferior status with diminished rights.
Lim was commenting on Hadi’s column in PAS mouthpiece Harakah Daily last Friday, in which he said Islam required that a nation’s leader and its cabinet members be Muslims from the most influential race.
Hadi said Islam also recognised the rights of non-Muslims in politics, economy and other aspects of life.
In politics, he said, Islam stressed that the main leadership in charge of policies must be Muslims, while non-Muslims were accepted in roles of management and expertise.
Lim, who is also Bagan MP and Penang chief minister, said Hadi’s “hardline extremist and racist position” would also frighten off Sabah and Sarawak.
“(It) may even lead to the break up of Malaysia as a nation into Muslim-Malay sections and non-Malay Muslims, non-Malays sections,” he said.
Lim also noted that Hadi failed to talk about fighting corruption and financial scandals, like the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) controversy or abolishing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which had caused the people economic hardship.
“This is the type of political party Umno wants to cooperate with, because PAS is willing to overlook Barisan Nasional’s rampant corruption and turning Malaysia into a kleptocracy to enable PAS to pursue such racist and extremist objectives.”
Lim said DAP was right to sever ties with PAS after the death of PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan menteri besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who died in February 2015.
A few months after Nik Aziz’s death, PAS under Hadi’s leadership officially ended its political cooperation with DAP, causing the collapse of the former opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat.
Both parties had butted heads for months over PAS’ insistence to implement the Islamic penal code hudud in PAS-ruled Kelantan. The relationship between both parties has been bitter ever since.
“Tok Guru Nik Aziz, whose moderate and anti-Umno position was replaced by Hadi’s extremist, racist and pro-unity government with Umno.
“DAP is willing to pay any political price to uphold our principles and defend the federal constitution by breaking off with PAS,” Lim said.
The DAP leader also took a dig at BN component parties, MCA, Gerakan and SUPP for not breaking ties with BN lynchpin party Umno when the latter was seeking cooperation with PAS to save itself from losing support over controversies like 1MDB and GST.
“Despite such betrayals by Umno, parties like MCA, Gerakan and SUPP continue to stick with Umno.
“Are the perks and privileges of ministerial office and the temptations of power at any price, worth giving up the rights of non-Malays and non-Malay Muslims?
“Are (they) more powerful than the fundamental principles of right and wrong?” Lim said.
Earlier this month, Hadi had attacked DAP by accusing its veteran leader Lim Kit Siang of wanting to be prime minister. He also alleged that Penang folk were suffering under the DAP-led state administration.
MEANWHILE, according to P RAMASAMY, who is Penang Deputy Chief Minister II and Perai state assemblyperson:
Is Hadi’s religious extremism a sign of unease with Umno?
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposal of a “Muslim-only-cabinet” seems to be another extreme political rhetoric to disengage with non-Muslims in the country.
As everybody knows, it has nothing to do with the religion of Islam. Instead, it has all to do with the extreme politics of Hadi to ensure that PAS is not reduced to being an appendage to the racial politics of Umno.
His remark about only Muslims in the cabinet seems to reflect the dilemma the party is under his leadership. His latest remark, to be read with other remarks, basically indicates that the party is at pains to chart its own political course in the country; something independent of Umno.
Hadi knows very well that PAS’ “dedak” association with Umno might cost his party the crucial votes it needs in the coming general election. The failure of PAS to take up matters relating to corruption and abuses of power by BN has caused considerable uneasiness within the ranks of the party.
Thus, by taking an extreme stand on matters of decisionmaking and governance, Hadi wants to present an alternative model to Muslims in Malaysia. A model in which non-Muslims have no role.
So what Hadi is doing is not something unusual, especially when he realises that his party is going nowhere with Umno. Until the time of the next general election, Hadi would be engaging in the most extreme sectarian politics to ensure that PAS is in the mainstream of the political contest.
This is the dilemma of many political parties that take on very radical positions at a time when their support base is dwindling.
Hadi is not stupid. He knows that PAS’ association with Umno might not be in the interest of the former for a long period. If there is such a possibility, he must outshine Umno, especially in the realm of Islam. This is the weakest link of Umno.
While Pakatan Harapan might not welcome PAS, Hadi is in a dilemma to address the rumblings within his own party especially with those members who still think that partnership in Harapan might be possible.
Hadi might have his reasons for being accommodating towards Umno, but then he also realises that many in PAS – especially the grassroots members which have long been socialised into thinking that “Umno is their enemy” – are not comfortable with this partnership.
Preparing for an Umno-free future?
Politics in PAS under Hadi is not simply about strengthening the bonds with Umno. Far from it. It is also preparing PAS for a future role in the country with or without Umno.
For Hadi, too much accommodation with Umno might not be desirable. He knows very well that the party cannot even guarantee that Kelantan remains the future stronghold of PAS. He knows that Umno might upset things in Kelantan.
His latest extremist remarks on non-Muslims are basically a measure of his ability or inability to keep the party intact in facing the next general election.
As too much accommodation with Umno might reduce the party to nothing, Hadi wants to ensure that PAS under his leadership remains the only political organisation for Malay Muslims in the country.
From another perspective, he is telling the Malay Muslims in the country that Umno is too tainted by the non-Muslims to offer a fresh political perspective on the future governance of the country
-THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
P RAMASAMY is Penang Deputy Chief Minister II and Perai state assemblyperson.