Mufti’s remark shows why Umno won’t win non-Malay voters


From: Gooi Hsiao Leung, via email

Pahang Mufti Abdul Rahman Othman’s clarification, as reported in the media yesterday, that his labelling of DAP as “kafir harbi” – referring to non-believers who can be slain for waging war against Islam – includes whoever is kafir (infidel) and are opposed to Islam, is totally unacceptable in our multiracial and multi-religious country.

Abdul Rahman’s statement first appeared in Utusan Malaysia on 24 June, where it was reported in connection with his statement calling upon Dr Mahathir to leave DAP and return to the true path as his actions are veering towards efforts to overthrow an Islamic country.

The Pahang Mufti’s politically motivated and extremist statement is shocking because he is effectively sanctioning bloodshed against non-Muslims by inciting Muslims to go on the war path and kill non-Muslims going against Islam – when nobody in our country is opposed to Islam.

The statement, aimed at inciting religious hatred, was deliberate and intentional and threatens our democratic way of life, and violates the very principles and spirit of our Rukun Negara in fostering greater unity and harmony in our multiracial and multi-religious society, especially the principles in upholding the supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law, courtesy and morality.

Not so long ago I had questioned why Mashitah Ibrahim, another senior Umno leader and former deputy minister, was cleared by the Attorney-General’s Chambers for making a racially charged speech during the Umno general assembly where she had lied about Chinese in Kedah burning pages of the Quran.

Why has the PM and the IGP not uttered a single word against this latest highly inflammatory and seditious statement made by the government-appointed Pahang Mufti? Where is the leadership needed in a multi-racial and multi-religious country, to lead by example in standing up against extremism and religious bigotry and intolerance in our own country?

The Umno leadership under the PM cannot just let this mufti off without any action being taken against him. He is not just an ordinary person, but a government appointed Mufti responsible for guiding Muslims on the right path of Islam and not sanctioning bloodbaths. In this instance, I urge all BN component party leaders to speak up and urge the government to take stern action against the Pahang Mufti and not just sit on the sidelines.

I am certain that as long as the PM led Umno government continues down this path in failing to recognise that non-Malays want leaders, regardless of race, who can inspire and promote moderation, inclusive and not divisive racial and religious politics, Umno will never win the hearts and minds of non-Malay voters in the next general election.

Gooi Hsiao Leung is Alor Setar MP and deputy chairman of Kedah PKR


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