PETALING JAYA: After attacking PAS for saying it would not allow non-Muslim members of the Cabinet to occupy key decision-making roles in the government, PPBM said it had no issues if non-Muslims were placed in key government-appointed posts as well as ministerial portfolio.
PPBM’s policy and strategy bureau chief Rais Hussin said this includes the post of governor of Bank Negara Malaysia and the finance minister, which have traditionally been held by Malays.
“The views of non-Muslims in our country are important and their ability to make decisions for themselves are critical for a harmonious co-existence,” Rais told FMT when asked whether his party’s policy would be different from what was envisioned by PAS president, Abdul Hadi Awang.
The last time a non-Malay held the finance portfolio was more than 40 years ago, when the late Tan Siew Sin held it for 15 years until 1974.
Hadi, in an article published by PAS mouthpiece Harakahdaily, had said that non-Muslims should only be in Cabinet posts to play the role as technocrats but not in decision-making positions.
“In politics, Islam makes it compulsory that its main leadership in charge of policies and concepts must be from among Muslims, and accepts non-Muslims to execute their expertise and play a management role, not in matters of policies and concepts. As such, Islam, through elections, accepts positions filled by non-Muslims or a technocracy,” said Hadi last week.
Rais said appointments to key positions should be based on merit, including one’s skills, knowledge and abilities to perform their job.
“We need a better understanding of each other’s views and at the same time appreciate the diversity we have towards building a prosperous nation,”
“Racism and prejudice are often rooted in the fear of losing control,” he added.
Rais however said it was not realistic to expect a non-Muslim to be a prime minister of Malaysia.
“It is like expecting a Muslim to be the US president.”
Amanah vice-president Mujahid Yusof Rawa said there should not arise the issue of whether or not a non-Muslim could be appointed to a senior decision-making position.
“We are not going to be dragged by this backward thinking of having a Muslim or non-Muslim for a particular position. If it’s related to Islamic positions however, then of course, we cannot have a non-Muslim as an imam or as a minister of Islamic affairs,” Mujahid told FMT.
Mujahid said in the context of Malaysia’s democratic system, Muslims and non-Muslims enjoy equal citizenship.
“I think we should leave the racial politics behind and look forward to whoever leads in terms of their ability instead. We should be thinking about what and where Malaysia can be, putting into context the different cultures and background we have,” he said.