Hadi’s gratuitous and arrogant attacks on DAP and PKRN leaders raise the question about his suitability to become a national leader for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs
- on 2004 General Election Nomination Day
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Saturday): The gratuitous and arrogant attacks on DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat Nasional (PKRN) by the PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang raise the fundamental question about his suitability to become a national leader for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs.
Hadi made a completely uncalled-for and scurrilous attack on Karpal Singh and me in Rusila, Terengganu yesterday when he said that both of us are “outdated leaders”, using highly offensive language in describing us as “medicine whose shelf life had expired”, and that we were “probably relevant to the 60s, 70s and 80s but not after 2,000 as the changed political scenario necessitates a different approach”.
If DAP leaders are to make similar gratuitous references about Hadi, they could also reciprocate in kind and say that Hadi is not relevant at all to the 21st century and a modern multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia as he does not seem to understand that he is not living in the Middle East or that we are in the first decade of a new millennium and not a few centuries ago.
There is no doubt that if Karpal and I had fully supported the PAS concept of an Islamic State, Hadi would have praised both of us sky-high as leaders worthy even for the next century.
But both Karpal and I had been consistent and unswerving in our convictions and principles, which are ever-green and unchanging – in upholding the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” agreed by the forefathers of the major communities on the attainment of Independent nationhood that Malaysia shall forever be a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, whether ala-PAS or ala-UMNO.
I am shocked that Hadi could support the stand of the PAS Spiritual Leader, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Che Mat, that the Parti Rakyat Malaysia president and PKRN Deputy President, Dr. Syed Husin Ali was not Islamic enough to stand as a parliamentary candidate in Kota Bahru for the 2004 general election, forcing Syed Husin to retire from elective politics. He even rubbed salt into the wound by claiming that the opposition to Syed Husin’s candidature was not from PAS alone but also from Keadilan in Kelantan.
Hadi had been most uncharitable, unfair and even cruel to one of the most veteran opposition leaders in the country. Both Hadi and Nik Aziz should publicly apologise to Syed Husin on the most unwarranted slur on his character.
It is completely unprecedented and unthinkable that the leaders of one opposition party could arrogate to itself the prerogative to decide on the eligibility of the leaders of another opposition party to stand for elective office.
This reminds Malaysians of the sham democracy in Iran where the reformists are stymied and persecuted by the conservative and intolerant Iranian clerics in the Guardian Council which vetoed the right of hundreds of reformists from standing for the recent Iranian parliamentary elections.
But Hadi is behaving not only as the “Big Brother” for PRKN, exercising the right to decide on the suitability and eligibility of its leaders, he thinks he has the right to similarly decide on the suitability and eligibility of DAP leaders.
Hadi is very wrong. Who PAS decides and elects as its leaders and selects as its parliamentary candidates is its own business, which DAP has no intention to interfere – but Hadi should learn that he has absolutely no business, right or qualification to try to pass judgment on who should be DAP leaders or DAP parliamentary candidates.
Hadi’s most improper and indefensible conduct in making gratuitous attacks on the DAP and PRKN is the latest proof of the correctness of the DAP decision in September 2001 to pull out of the Barisan Alternative, as the top PAS leadership had reneged on the 1999 Barisan Alternative Common Manifesto “Towards A Just Malaysia” which made no reference whatsoever to an Islamic State. In fact, it carried an implied commitment not to pursue an Islamic State objective, as all subscribing parties pledged to uphold the fundamental features of the Malaysian Constitution – one of which is that Malaysia is a secular democracy with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State.
Hadi said a few days ago that PAS proposes the amendment of the Constitution to enable a Chinese Muslim to become a Prime Minister in its concept of an Islamic State. This is presented as a great concession and progress when it is a serious retrogression.
Under the present Constitution, any Malaysian, whether Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh, could be a Prime Minister of Malaysia – although the political reality is a very different proposition.
How can Hadi believe that his proposal to allow a Chinese Muslim to become Prime Minister is an improvement when a Malay Muslim like Syed Husin Ali is not even allowed to stand as a parliamentary candidate in PAS-ruled Kelantan?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman