Between ‘divine’ punishments and taxpayers’ rights

23 January 2015

In PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s worldview, punishments like chopping off hands and stoning for crimes are par for the course but taxpayers cannot elect local government representatives because it can lead to racial discord.

He also subscribes to the view that most Malays still remain in rural and semi-rural areas while the Chinese are the majority in urban areas, if his comments against the DAP’s proposals to have the third vote is anything to go by.

“What more when we look at it from a racial aspect which could cause the gap to widen and polarisation to happen, as well as tensions between residents in a town with a Chinese majority.

“Just compare the RM250 million annual income of a local council in Selangor with the RM50 million of another local council in the same state where the majority is of a different race,” Hadi said.

“We should not see political victory and economic power as being for one race only in a multiracial society.

“We should not support something that can be a catalyst for instability, or something that would widen the divide between urban and rural communities, and more frighteningly, something that could result in a repeat of the May 13 riots that is a black mark on our country’s history,” he said.

Really? This from the leader of a party that once pushed for an Islamic welfare state as its mission in the last general election, only to once again go back to insisting on hudud for the only state it runs.

Is it any wonder that PAS can only be one-term governments in other states than Kelantan? It’s insistence for “divine” punishments over taxpayers’ rights is a turn-off, even for urban Malays in Terengganu where it ruled for one term from 1999 and Kedah from 2004.

From Hadi’s comments, one can only surmise that he is not above canvassing for votes among all races but will cite racial factors to deny something as democratic as choosing one’s own local government.

Or is he against the DAP’s proposal for the third vote because that party is against PAS’s push for hudud? It this a case of tit-for-tat between the two allies in Pakatan Rakyat (PR)?

Perhaps Hadi should get up to speed on the fact that more Malays are now in urban areas, and that urbanisation has spread to more areas in Malaysia – even his sleepy fishing village of Marang in Terengganu.

And that local government elections and policies cut through race and religion – it is about services and facilities, and planned development rather than a case of racial supremacy.

If one didn’t know better, Hadi sounds more like an Umno man rather than a PAS politician who talks about Islam rather than race.

Hadi’s view reflects that of a man and politician still stuck in the race-and-religion divide, the urban-rural gap politics of a developing Malaysia. But this is Malaysia of the 21st century where Malaysians of all stripes just want a government that represents their wishes.

After all, the PR alliance has agreed on local government elections but not hudud.

If Hadi truly believes that Malaysians want hudud, why can’t he see that they also want local government elections. Or, at the very least, put it to vote in Parliament – the same way he wants hudud to be debated.

But, Hadi rather take potshots from his fishing village home and be content with preaching from the pulpit every Friday, instead of confronting his allies in a PR leadership meeting and thrash out all issues.

If that is the case, PAS has to review its options of whether to remain in PR. It cannot have a village ustaz leading a party of scholars and professionals in the 21st century. Malaysia deserves better politicians than those who just harp on racial discord as a reason not to have more democracy. – January 23, 2015.

  1. #1 by Noble House on Sunday, 25 January 2015 - 12:26 pm

    Hadi has nothing to offer the 21st century. He belongs to the past where sticks and stones ruled the days.

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