PETALING JAYA: An academic claims Pakatan Harapan’s weakness in dealing with the issue of Islamisation could see its downfall in the next general election (GE14).
Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani, who is a professor of Politics and International Relations at the School of International Studies in Universiti Utara Malaysia, said that the opposition coalition had no clear agenda when it came to policies related to the official state religion.
“Although many Muslims want to see the coalition clinch power, Pakatan Harapan must still prove itself as being able to champion and protect Islam to gain popularity.
“So far, they have failed to show that they can uphold an Islamic agenda, let alone fight for Malay rights. Therefore, PH has failed to become an alternative to the Barisan Nasional,” Azizuddin said in a commentary published by the East Asia Forum on its website today.
The East Asia Forum is a think tank which focuses on economics, politics and public policy in East Asia and the Pacific.
“If Pakatan Harapan fails to take such measures, the upcoming general election will see the majority of Muslims continue to vote for the Barisan Nasional.
“As such, having no Islamic agenda means fewer votes for Pakatan Harapan and a win for the Barisan Nasional in Malaysia’s next general election,” he said.
Azizuddin supported his argument by saying that Malaysia already has a national Islamisation policy with four objectives.
“The first is to make Islam a special religion with state sponsorship. The second is to make Sunni Islamic teaching, the dominant sect of Islam in the world, the teaching for all Muslims in Malaysia.
“The third is the empowerment of the Islamic bureaucracy through the Administration of Islamic Law Act.
“The fourth is to constitutionally protect Islam as the religion of the Federation in Malaysia. This gives legitimacy to the ruling BN party as being a champion of Islamic issues,” he said.
According to Azizuddin, so long as Prime Minister Najib Razak favours a stricter interpretation of Islam, he keeps conservative Muslims and PAS on the same side as Umno/Barisan Nasional.
“BN believes that if the party champions Islam, it will always have Muslim Malays’ support,” he said.
He added that this was further proven with the ruling party working closely with the the Islamic bureaucracy in the country.
“In the 2018 national budget, the government provided additional financial resources to empower Islam and Islamic institutions.
“Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who is the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs, had on Dec 1 said this showed that the BN government was not shirking its responsibility of transforming Malaysia into an Islamic state,” Azizuddin said.