Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah criticised the move by some Umno member to label DAP as haram.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah speaking to reporters here said there was no need to label anyone “haram” just for political differences, urging the debate to be used for winning support instead.
“This is not about what is permissible and non-permissible, as in criminal offences.
“This is only politics. If we don’t agree, we can always use our persuasive power to defuse, to rebut, or to bring forward our own ideas,” said the Temerloh MP.
On Wednesday Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia published a front-page report quoting Islamic scholars aligned to the ruling party as saying it would be “haram” to vote for the predominantly Chinese DAP which it described as anti-Islam.
The report said Malaysian Muslims should not support the DAP for its staunch opposition to hudud.
But Umno president and Prime Minister Najib Razak himself had said recently that he was against PAS’s fight to implement the Islamic penal law considering Malaysia’s multi-racial community.
His predecessor, Dr Mahathir Mohamad was also against the implementation of hudud but said he should not be equated to DAP as he had declared Malaysia an Islamic state during the later years of his tenure.
The statement was seen as suggesting that the DAP was anti-Islam and the “haram” label was fitting for the predominantly Chinese party although Mahathir evaded replying when asked if he agreed with the view.
Opposition leaders blasted the Malay broadsheet for what it described as attempts to incite religious tension aimed at shoring up support from the country’s ethnic majority ahead of key national polls.