All-Muslim cabinet: What says the PM?

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Najib and Hadi at a rally for the Rohingya inside the Titiwangsa indoor stadium: Najib will unashamedly use Pas to corner the voters in the rural hinterlands - Photograph: themalaymailonline.com

By not being forthright in his views regarding Hadi’s stand, Najib is seen as espousing an extreme policy that deprives the non-Malays of their legitimate constitutional rights, says P Ramakrishnan.

Every time Hadi and his ilk in Pas open their mouths with their extreme views sidelining the non-Muslims and non-Malays, oh how terribly we miss Tok Guru Nik Aziz!

Tok Guru was inclusive, fair and just in his views and, believing in Islam’s notion that all men and women are equal, always made it clear that the non-Muslims should not be discriminated against.

I remember a teacher friend of mine, who was also a part-time pastor in Kuala Krai, who wanted to renovate his church that was in disrepair. For this, he required the MP from that constituency to endorse his application for the renovation. The Umno MP rejected his request, stating that it was a Malay- majority area and therefore he could not support the application.

When Pas formed the state government in 1990, my friend attended the Menteri Besar’s open house for Hari Raya. The MB then was Tok Guru. My friend attended this function and raised the question of the renovation of his church with Tok Guru, who advised him to come and see him on another day.

Accordingly, my friend visited Tok Guru and explained the problem he had faced with the Umno MP. Without hesitation, there and then, Tok Guru approved the application for the renovation of the church.

My friend asked Tok Guru, how was it the previous MP refused whereas Tok Guru so readily endorsed his application. Tok Guru simply said, “They are Malay – we are Muslim!”

That simple, honest answer revealed the true face of Islam which is moderate, just, fair, non-discriminatory and inclusive. That is the kind of Islam that is sadly lacking in Pas now. Is it any wonder that this departure from the true path of Islam, as perceived by many, has prompted a sizeable number of Pas members who had become disillusioned with Hadi’s leadership to part ways with the party they had been associated with for decades – because it no longer reflects the embracing views of the much revered Tok Guru?

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Tok Guru would never have ignored the mind-boggling corruption that is plaguing the nation. He had made it abundantly clear that there would never be any co-operation with Umno and he meant it. “I would not allow it, for as long as I am still alive, I would not permit any effort for co-operation between Pas and Umno,” he was quoted as saying.

He drew a clear line between right and wrong. He would never have compromised with the RM2.6 bn scandal staring at us. He would never have condoned the sidelining of any minority community.

With the passing of Tok Guru on 12 February 2015, everything changed to the detriment of the country.

Hadi has now come out quite openly advocating an all-Muslim cabinet with full powers to formulate policies. Such a policy would effectively ignore the rights of non-Muslims to be at par with Muslim cabinet members with equal right to discuss, decide and formulate policies for the nation. By his policy, Hadi has reduced non-Muslims to a lower status and stature. He has resorted to double-dealing without a qualm.

Clearly, a controversy has erupted, and he has been soundly criticised for his diabolical views. His minions have come out with explanations to state what Hadi actually meant and that the NST, which carried Had’s opinion piece in the party organ HarakahDaily, had misreported what was said by Hadi. But strangely Hadi himself, the author of that article, has not come forward to provide a definite explanation. Why has he not come forward with his side of the story and put an end to this disturbing controversy? Is it because, as some have rightly claimed, what has been written in black and white cannot be twisted to give a different meaning to what was expressed and intended in writing?

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What Pas seems to be saying is that non-Muslims don’t have an equal stake in this country, totally ignoring the fact that we attained Merdeka because of the common stand taken by the various leaders and communities at that time in our history. It was this united effort and resolve that secured our Independence.

But Hadi is no respecter of history. Didn’t he at one time label Umno members as kafirs? Didn’t this stand result in two imams in our mosques? Weren’t marriages solemnised by Umno imams not recognised, creating ridiculous situations. Funeral rites were not permitted to be performed by Umno imams at Pas funerals. The Muslims were split by their political affiliations. Their political differences were that serious.

Now, forgetting the past and ignoring the enmity between the two, Hadi is trying to forge a kind of Muslim unity by openly associating himself with Umno. With this stance, is hoping to create a dominant race in Malaysia to dominate Malaysian politics through religion while summarily dismissing the role of non-Muslims.

He is playing dangerous politics that cannot be condoned by right-thinking and well-meaning Malaysians. His politics must be condemned and opposed in the larger interest of Malaysia and its people.

In the midst of this controversy, a larger question looms above us begging for an immediate answer.

What is Najib’s stand in this controversy? True, he has neither supported nor condemned Hadi’s view as going against the democratic principles and being in contravention of the Federal Constitution. By not taking a stand, he is sending a wrong signal that he is not opposed to Hadi’s view and is thereby, in fact, in support of Hadi. There is no other conclusion to this controversy.

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What has happened to Najib’s much-heralded moderate Islam? Was it an exercise in mere public rhetoric without a modicum of conviction?

By not being forthright in his views regarding Hadi’s stand, Najib is seen as espousing an extreme policy that deprives the non-Malays of their legitimate constitutional rights. By not opposing Hadi’s discriminatory policy, he is paving the way for an extreme policy to evolve and eventually become the policy of Malaysia.

In this critical moment, moderate Malaysians who love this nation and who would like to safeguard our unity and preserve our peace must rally together to halt this attempt by Hadi to do away with our democratic tradition, which will only bring destruction to our nation.

We must resolutely oppose and do all that is necessary and permissible to bring about a change to the present governance, which will do untold harm to our nation if we don’t stop them in their tracks.

Let us be guided by the immortal words of Edmund Burke, the great Irish statesman, who said that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

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[…] the serious implications of Hadi’s proposal, it begs the question raised by former Aliran president P Ramakrishnan: what is the stand of Prime Minister Najib Razak […]