PETALING JAYA: PAS and its president, Abdul Hadi Awang, must accept Malaysia as a secular state if they want to woo non-Malay and non-Muslim voters in the 16th general election (GE16), says Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng.
In a statement, the DAP leader said this was one of three key steps the Islamic party must take if they wish to gain the support of this group of voters.
He was responding to Hadi’s speech at the PAS muktamar yesterday, where the Marang MP said the party must now work on winning over non-Malay and non-Muslim voters in GE16, after having secured support from the majority of Malays.
Describing this task as an “important and challenging” responsibility, Hadi said this was crucial for the party and Perikatan Nasional (PN) in order to form the federal government at the polls.
Lim said at a time where religious and racial sentiments are often used as political tools, PAS must present itself as respecting the non-Muslim community, in line with the Islamic party’s slogan “Islam For All”.
“First and foremost, Hadi and PAS need to agree with the view that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as its official religion, as endorsed by three former prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Abdul Razak Hussein, and Hussein Onn,” he said.
Lim then called for PAS leaders to stop calling non-Muslims “kafir” as it creates a negative perception of the community and causes division in Malaysia’s multi-racial society.
“Thirdly, Hadi must also agree that the issue of corruption in Malaysia is a deeply rooted problem that knows no ethnic boundaries,” he said, alluding to comments made by Hadi previously.
In August last year, Hadi drew brickbats after accusing non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras of being at the root of corruption and forming the “majority of those involved in ruining the country’s politics and economy”.
Lim stressed that such blanket statements, without evidence, would only exacerbate the situation and not help foster unity among Malaysia’s diverse ethnic groups.