Confusion abounds, for instance, over an announcement by Trengganu Mentri Besar Abdul Hadi Awang requiring non-Muslims to pay an additional income tax known as kharaj as well as zakat (tithe) on their economic activities, as the chairman of the Trengganu State Education, Dakwah and Syariah Committee, Harun Taib, had reassured non-Muslims they had nothing to fear as they were already paying taxes as required by the Federal Constitution.
Although Hadi said that a special committee had been set up to study the proposed kharaj and zakat (which would be collected for economic activities including agriculture, mining, industry, commerce and business activities), the Trengganu PAS government must fully respect the sensitivities of the different races and religions not only in Trengganu but also in Malaysia.
Otherwise, the PAS Trengannu state government would undo all the good and commendable actions it is introducing, as for instance, the Mentri Besar and all State Executive Councillors publicly declaring their assets, the scrapping of the toll charges at the Sultan Mahmud Bridge and the increased maternity leave.
As PAS has entered into a solemn compact with DAP, KeADILan and PRM to form the Barisan Alternative on the basis of the common manifesto "Towards A Just Malaysia", PAS should also take full cognisance of the sensitivities of the other political parties if the Barisan Alternative is not going to be rendered untenable and unsustainable.
After the PAS Trengganu state government’s special committee on kharaj and zakat had completed its study and recommendations, Barisan Alternative should set up its special committee to consider whether the proposals have taken into full cognisance the commitment made by PAS in the Barisan Alternative’s "Towards A Just Malaysia" - both in spirit and letter.
As a matter of course, the Barisan Alternative component parties should be given prior notice of any legislation or policy which the Trengganu and Kelantan PAS state governments proposes to introduce which could infringe on the rights or sensitivities of other religions, communities or political parties.
DAP will not hesitate to make clear our opposition to any measure by Trengganu or Kelantan State government which erodes the rights and sensitivities of other religions, communities or political parties.