Umno has more ‘class’, Shabery tells PAS

PETALING JAYA: Umno has more “class” compared to PAS in deciding not to work with traitors for the 15th General Election (GE15), says Datuk Seri Shabery Cheek.

Responding to PAS vice-president Datuk Idris Ahmad’s statement that Umno was setting itself up for a big loss if it were to go solo in GE15, Shabery said the pain of being betrayed was far worse.

“Our (Umno) loss during the previous elections was painful but being betrayed was worse.

“Those that betrayed Umno are now with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and now they (Bersatu) are in bed with PAS.

“Getting us (Umno) to join you under the sheets is a tough call. We have class,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday (Sept 19).

Shabery, who is also an Umno supreme council member also praised Pakatan for rejecting calls by Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to join them under the big tent approach.

“Although Pakatan wants to win, they have rejected working with people like Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who had previously betrayed them.

“Although it’s just politics, have some class,” he said.

On Sept 18, Idris was quoted as saying that Umno will face a repeat of the past elections if they chose to continue going solo.

“It’s okay if Umno wants to go that route, whereas we always speak of unity. Let the people decide who they want instead,” he was quoted as saying by a news portal. ANN

PAS politics: A ‘sleeping with all’ strategy

CONVENTIONAL wisdom affirms that political and religious discussions are two of the most divisive issues in the world. As and when they are broached, these two topics can split human communities, even families, apart.

Yet, there is something even more toxic than the above – a political and religious discussion led by a cult of religious and political personality. That label, unfortunately, belongs to Hadi Awang, the president of PAS.

The word unfortunate has to be added to the description of Hadi for five important reasons. If one might add five very important reasons, which require a deep dive and elaboration.

First and foremost, granted that the guilt of ex-prime minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor has been established by the Federal Court and the High Court respectively – both with a hefty custodial sentence and a humongous fine – something is obviously very wrong with Umno, the political party that has nominated Ismail Sabri to be the current prime minister.

Second, instead of pulling out from the ruinous government led by a prime minister who does not know how to handle the increasing cost of living in Malaysia, Hadi has allowed all his PAS ministers and deputy ministers to prop up the government.

The love of political power for the sake of political power seems to go above and beyond the love of moral integrity of true Islam. As Prophet Muhammad SAAS once said: “When one is in doubt over any issue (if it is haram or halal) leave it.”

Yet despite the centrality of the important message in Islam, Hadi has done the complete opposite – instead of leaving a government tainted by Umno, where there are other Umno MPs who are also facing avalanche of corruption and CBT cases in the courts, top of the list is president of Umno Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi.

Hadi has consciously chosen to be dumb, deaf and mute. Not only that, he sends his deputies to strike a deal with Umno pre-GE15 which many in Umno resisting as they know PAS “sleeping-with-all” strategy to maximise position and power.

Thirdly, it does not seem to cross the mind of Hadi – and all those in PAS who still root for the wobbly government – that using and invariably abusing the role of Islam in any situation is down-right forbidden. Such abuses must not exist in any forms – be it individual or communal in forms or substances – let alone the national context. Yet to make matters worse, Hadi has resorted to calling Pakatan Harapan a party of “infidels and the corrupt” although Pakatan Harapan is strongly rooted in combatting corruption.

Should Penang ex-chief minister Lim Guan Eng, the chairman of the DAP, be convicted of corruption over the Penang undersea tunnel, there will be zero interference from Pakatan.

Fourthly, it boggles the mind that Hadi, who built his career in PAS as a “tok guru” (teacher) does not have any sense of inner shame that both he and PAS have crossed the lines many times.

To begin with, Hadi has not affirmed that the act of “kafir mengkafir,” (to accuse others of being infidels) is patently wrong and forbidden by Islam as the basis of any discourse. For truly it is “God alone who knows the affairs of his servants’ hearts.”

Thus, when Hadi’s does not take back what he said, is not taken back by Hadi and PAS, the whole party that comes under the leadership of his party and Hadi, brings serious opprobrium to the image and reputation of Islam. One of the most noble acts of Islam as embedded in its tradition is to “speak truth to the powers that be.” Short of distorting Islam completely in the eye of all Malaysians, if not the whole world, Hadi has remained totally defiant to and against what true Muslims really want – that is to keep Islam forever pure, principled and pristine. The current religious minister from PAS, Idris Ahmad, in his sheer audacity, in the name of streamlining fatwas, has actually deleted the fatwa on kafir-mengkafir as deviant teaching.

Finally, Hadi has in his own way – selective or otherwise – perjured the good name of Islamic jurisprudence. When editors and ex-editors of The Edge – especially Azam Aris – were hauled up to face charges of exposing the manipulation of the stock market, based on an article published on the abnormal surge in penny stocks in 2020 and 2021, Hadi and PAS remained coyly silent. Silent to the degree of being uproariously defiant if not downright manipulative.

When Hadi and PAS have taken Islam – the final Abrahamic faith who continues to respect Christians and Jews as “ahli al-kitab,” (believers of the revelation of one God) – to the lowest of the low in the eye of devout Muslims and the world of those who continue to want to study and understand Islam in its own authentic spirit, then Hadi and his cult-like believers in PAS are actually bending Islam from what Quran referred to as “al siratul mustaqim” (the straight path).

As this is written, the war drum and clarion call for GE15 is being sounded by one faction of Umno. Zahid Hamidi even announced that the Umno/Barisan Nasional is ready for GE15 even if massive floods come. He did not say how and whether they would help the people expected to suffer as a result of the forecasted massive flood.

Islam and democracy can co-exist. The will of the people can be the will of God. Not unlike how Caliph Abu Bakar was elected by consensus to succeed the role of Prophet Muhammad after the demise of the latter from natural cause of old age at 63. Yet, what Hadi and PAS have done is to sink their fangs deeper into the constitutional monarchy of Malaysia. This is done by bleeding it dry through drips and draps. Instead of speaking up and against corruption, Hadi and PAS have held their annual Muktamar or party convention to affirm that only PAS deserves to be in power for PAS and PAS alone – to quote one of their blindly mistaken followers – is the straight way.

Yet again, how can Hadi and PAS live up to the hallmarks of Islam of being a comprehensive faith that is deeply offended by all acts of corruption, theft and larceny? In the Quran, it is clear: “And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it (in bribery) to the rulers in order that (they might aid) you (to) consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know (it is unlawful) (AlBaqarah 2:188).

At a time when up to 90% or more of all Malaysians do not have enough to even enjoy the notion of retiring at 60 (let alone 65), Malaysia is obviously in serious and systemic need of all-round institutional reforms. Malaysia is now at the precipice of a serious meltdown.

Not only has the country been ravaged by corruption, Covid-19, climate change and the corrosive effects of a deleterious trade wars between China and the West, but the clash of two Pan Slavic neighbours (i.e. Ukraine and Russia) that have refused to relent.

These are all problems starting with a capital Cs. Indeed, research by Nikkei Asia has found out that world trade has risen to a high of 60% in 2002 as and when China was already a year into being a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). As this is written in 2022, a full twenty years later, world trade has dropped to 50%, with the US and China bent on “decoupling” their economies from each other. As a trading nation, Malaysia is caught in the eye of this geo-economic and geo-political storm. The best way to lift Malaysia up is by improving the standing of Malaysia in Transparency International, World Competitiveness Index and its efforts to address the problems of climate change, coronavirus and the cost of rising credit due to ever higher interest rates.

Hadi and PAS have not touched on any of these issues over the last two years since PAS has decided to interbreed with a government that was undemocratically formed from under the nose of Pakatan on March 1 2020. Sheer silence implies the consent to allow Malaysia to rot. Malaysia is indeed rotting. The ringgit has been weak since the transition of the government of Pakatan to the one today. Inflation has made close to 1.7 million active and retired civil servants living in livid fear of how Malaysia might be the next trajectory to Sri Lanka. There are 60 countries under the watch list of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, according to President Joko Widodo.

The latter may not have mentioned it. But there is a high probability that Malaysia is one of the 60, or, would become one of the 60 soon if the likes of Hadi and PAS continue to work closely with a clueless Umno administration that has all but been hollowed out of any administrative talents.

May Allah save Malaysia.  –  WRITER Dr Rais Hussin