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No, Kit Siang, we don’t want Hadi

 | January 25, 2017

PAS needs a new leader and opposition supporters need to reject a Hadi-controlled party.

COMMENT

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In extending an olive branch to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang may look magnanimous to some, but perhaps a significant number of Malaysians have their doubts.

Lim said he wasn’t being hypocritical. He claimed he wanted Hadi’s help to deal with the problem of kleptocracy.

But you can’t blame those of us who see him clutching at straws for fear that Pakatan Harapan cannot win the next general election without PAS’ help.

When Pakatan decided to team up with former PM Mahathir Mohamad, many Malaysians were horrified. Members of the older generation say it was Mahathir who laid the foundations for Malaysia’s ills.

Mahathir triggered the constitutional crisis of 1988, which some say spelt the beginning of the Malaysian judiciary’s destruction.

Certainly Najib Razak isn’t the first prime minister to suppress dissent. Mahathir did the same. In Operasi Lalang, two dailies and two weeklies had their printing permits revoked or suspended.

In 1974, Mahathir, as education minister, was responsible for the strengthening of the Universities and University Colleges Act to kill activism in institutions of learning.

Through the ages, many leaders have found religion to be a useful tool to divide the masses. In the 1980s, PAS gained a strong foothold in the rural areas. Mahathir, with Anwar Ibrahim’s help, made Malaysia more Islamic to counter PAS’ rising influence. He made things worse in 2002, when he falsely declared that Malaysia was an Islamic state.

The issues he currently highlights in his criticism of Najib are the same issues raised against him during his tenure.

So, what of Hadi Awang?

Hadi’s true colours were shown with the unravelling of the Selangor administration’s so-called Kajang Move in 2014. He was against the nomination of PKR president Wan Azizah Ismail for the post of Menteri Besar and he took a long time to make his position known.

Hadi doesn’t want women to play major roles in politics, and Malaysians don’t want misogynists like him to be in positions of leadership. What Malaysian women took a century to achieve may be undone at a stroke of a pen under Hadi.

In trying to force through his proposals to amend Act 355, Hadi is going against the Federal Constitution. It is doubtful that he has thought through the far-reaching consequences of this move.

We struggle with the GST, the high cost of living, the sluggish economy and the weak ringgit and we resent the withholding of Kelantan’s oil royalty dues. In playing “hudud games”, he has alienated many of PAS’ grassroots supporters.

Despite all of this, Lim insists that Hadi’s support is crucial in Pakatan’s efforts to win GE14. No! PAS needs a new leader and opposition supporters needs to reject a party controlled by Hadi.

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

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