By Arnaz M. Khairul
ON March 22, Health Department director general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had announced an average of one out of 10 attendees of a tabligh gathering in Sri Petaling from February 28 to March 2 had tested positive upon screening for Covid 19.
This was the sum of between 12,000 and 16,000, which proved to be the main cluster (not the only one) that drove the spread of the coronavirus in the country and this needed to be tackled with utmost urgency.
But the tricky part was dealing with a devout, religious group that put their fate and that of others purely in the hands of God, or so they believed they did.
Thus getting each and every one of those thousands who dispersed from that gathering across the country top step forward and be screened was a painstaking task. Aptly, what followed were scenes of police and health ministry officials in hazmat suits arriving at the homes of those detected.
What was needed at that moment, was those continuously chanting the chorus of religious politics to lend their voices to the government and urge these people to be considerate and not put others at risk, despite everyone’s fate being in none other than God’s hands.
But the government, at least on March 22, could not rely on the leader of the largest religious party which happened to be part of their coalition, because on that very day PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was at the time busy crafting an Arabic masterpiece entitled “Peaceful Reform Movement, Not Coup d’Etat and Revolution”.
The contents of Hadi’s statement under the letterhead of the PAS supreme headquarters, are by now the subject of criticism across social media as even his supporters struggle to defend its relevance, especially in a time when all the prowess of the infant Perikatan Nasional government had to be garnered to battle Covid 19 and the economic impact in its trail.
While analysts argue that the contents are full of slander and defamatory sentiments towards DAP and Anwar Ibrahim, whom Hadi stated were backed by foreign influences from America, Europe, Singapore, the Zionists and freemasonry, Hadi’s own hypocrisy is evident in the fact that the Arabic letter itself is addressing foreign elements, seeking legitimacy for a government burdened by the “backdoor government” and political coup tags.
That Hadi’s letter painted a picture of the race and religious cards holding some sort of relevance to matters outside of the confines of Malay politics was another matter. Following is an excerpt from Hadi’s statement, the first point in his reasoning of PAS’ stand.
“Pakatan Harapan: Tun Mahathir’s party, the United Indigenous Party of Malaysia (BERSATU) which is a UMNO fragmentary party (the backbone of the ruling party) is a newly formed party, practically a weak party. Joining him is the party of Anwar Ibrahim (Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PKR) which is a pragmatic secular party comprising members of various races and also have ideological differences such as the Malay Muslim secular and also groups of non-Muslims from the Chinese and Indians, most of them being Christian. Also together is The Democratic Action Party (DAP), which has a predominantly Christian majority Chinese membership, a remnant of a banned communist party and liberal thinkers. Together with them are the liberal-secular Islam-oriented National Trust Party (AMANAH), formed by Anwar Ibrahim and DAP leaders to fight for PAS’s popularity especially among Muslims and to break their unity, by bringing together opposition groups including bringing in hasty and opportunistic groups that have left PAS. Behind this block are external support groups that benefit Anwar’s presence in the block. Then after Pakatan Harapan succeeded in changing the government with their victory in the election, there was an internal attempt to nominate Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister by the DAP, PKR and AMANAH to oust Tun Mahathir, with the support of the United States, Europe, Singapore, Zionists and even Freemasons. Mahathir’s candidacy was purely against Najib’s use of his popularity but at the same time, they rejected Tun Mahathir’s hold on what he considered to be an overstatement, especially in his attempt to reject a reconciliation with the West and his views on issues of Palestine, Kashmir, Myanmar and Uighur. Pakatan Harapan finally won the last election. PAS had withdrawn from the alliance that it had been involved with from 1999 to 2012 due to the attitude of those who violate the agreement that is in line with PAS principles and objectives in serving Islam and Muslims.”
This type of political lingo may have worked in some sections of society, although to this mind it rings the same tone as the type of politics reserved for the confines of early educational facilities, where young girls go about telling on those they dislike to gain prominence or popularity among their desired group of girls, i.e. in Manglish lingo: “don’t friend them, they are jahat.”
Whether the foreign elements equally subscribe to the racial tones is another story, while Hadi’s claims that the Pakatan Harapan government which took power following the 14th general election was dominated by a non-Muslim majority in parliament, are facts which are easily verified via Google.
A way forward for Hadi upon the publicising of this letter, could be to urge those he attempted to persuade to back the legitimacy of his government, to first announce the relevance of the contents of his letter. Given the resources at his disposal now, surely there are ways to achieve that and Hadi is part of the right clique to be advised how to.
Plus, he had on Friday been appointed special envoy to the Middle East with minister’s status, which provides all the opportunities to do so.
But judging from Hadi’s promotion of fear towards DAP and Anwar, one might struggle to understand how harping on his most feared party and politician would be of any benefit to the Arabs or Persians he will son engage with.
Their only option to halt Hadi’s persistence might be to get on the phone to Anwar and Lim Guan Eng to tell them to stop scaring Hadi.
Thus we leave this matter with a reflection on first premier Tunku Abdul Rahman’s hopes of Malaysia to be “the beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.”
That beacon of light, is being disturbed and distracted by Hadi.
Full translation of Hadi’s letter in our story yesterday: