By Phlip Rodrigues
There is no mistaking the message Pas president Hadi Awang is sending when he yet again heaps much of the blame on non-believers or ethnic minorities for causing moral degradation in Malaysian society.
The message is clear and disturbing: Muslims have a religious obligation to unite and wage a “political jihad to save the country and the Muslims“.
Hadi wants to drive away the threat posed by leaders who are “non-believers and immoral” and make sure they will not take part in the affairs of government.
Instead of celebrating unity in diversity inside and outside the government, Hadi goes on a ‘warpath’ to divide the people into two hostile camps.
This religious zealot appears to be hell-bent on rewriting a completely different narrative, or a modern history, in which the dominant ethnic group will figure prominently, while the minority ethnic groups will most likely be relegated to a footnote.
Hadi’s take on how the Malays became weak and hence vulnerable to social ills like corruption is merely a case of fault-finding. In his rendering of history, the Malays were actually innocent until the arrival of colonisers and now, the “new colonisers”.
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He claims that most of those involved in ruining the country’s economy and politics were the ethnic minorities – he casts them as being at the root of corruption in the country. He says they used their money to corrupt politics, the administration and the judiciary.
In Hadi’s skewed narrative, he conveniently forgets the significant contribution made by the ethnic minorities. He ignores the fact that, as descendants of immigrants, many of them became successful through dint of sheer hard work.
Most received nothing on a silver platter: they did not undermine anybody but minded their own business as they went about building a better life for themselves.
Looking for more faults, the indefatigable troublemaker took a swipe at the latest scapegoat, the “new colonisers” – those who have influence over the new media. He sees the hidden hands of forces inside and outside the country controlling this new tool, which, he claimed, is being used by the opposition to damage young Malay voters.
The irony is that Hadi himself is using the same platform to sow hatred and spew venom in a bid to sway the minds of ethnic Malay voters.
No matter how hard Hadi tries to put a new twist to the tales of corruption and immorality, it is indisputable that Umno, once a strong fortress, fell in 2018 because of its scandal-plagued, corrupt leader, who is now languishing in prison.
Why put much of the blame on ethnic minority-based political parties when the dominant party was calling the shots all those six decades it was in power?
It was the taste of power and the abuse of power that led to the gradual corruption of the minds and souls of the ruling class and eventually triggered their downfall.
But the self-righteous Hadi is unlikely to beat a retreat even in the face of court action. Despite being hauled up by the police for his racist outburst, the firebrand will continue to peddle his insidious doctrine. He will persist in searching for new enemies to discredit legitimate citizens of varied faiths.
In fact, the zealot has taken his fight one notch higher: he wants to wage a “political jihad” to save the country and Muslims from the evil influences of the “new colonisers”, those whom he now sees as manipulating social media – a new battlefront – to undermine the Malays.
Undoubtedly, he will stoke religious sentiments in a gambit to gain more power to browbeat all those who oppose the Pas political and religious agenda.
So, in his warped view, the ‘army’ of Hadi will clash with the ‘army’ of the non-Muslims on the electoral battlefield in a “political jihad” to decide the fate of the country.
But this coming ‘clash of beliefs and ideologies’ will not be a walk in the park for Hadi, because strenuous efforts will be made to stop him in his tracks.
Given the dire consequences of a Pas regime, the battle of the ballot will also be about a fight to save Malaysia from the clutches of rabid religious bigots.
Phlip Rodrigues is a former journalist