I would normally refrain from taking on religious clerics because I believe that all of them have only one noble objective in mind – to spread the Good News of salvation to mankind. It does not matter which religion they profess.
However, when you call yourself a man of God and a cleric and also partake in active politics, then you are also a politician. When you are a politician, you are fair game to me.
Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang wears many hats. He is an Islamic preacher, a Tok Guru, president of PAS, a Member of Parliament and Malaysia’s envoy to the Arab world. I would say that he is one of those peculiar Malaysian Muslims who indulges in Islamic politics.
Abdul Hadi’s brand of politics is using Islam, twisting and turning its teachings, for his own political interests. I believe that even Muslims are confused at how he interpreted Islam at times. An example is when he declared that corruption is not wrong in Islam. Seriously, Hadi! Are you out of your mind?
Ever wonder why, in 2019, the PAS president had to foot Sarawak Report’s RM1.4 million in legal bills in order to exit the defamation suit which he filed against the portal.
Abdul Hadi had taken Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown to court for defamation in 2017 over a report in 2016 that alleged PAS leaders took RM90 million to support Umno and Barisan Nasional ahead of the 14th general election.
In her blog post then, Rewcastle-Brown attached an excerpt from a letter of undertaking to affirm the sum was paid, adding that it was the only detail both parties consented to keep confidential.
Today, I’m not sorry for taking Abdul Hadi, the politician, on. For many of his controversial statements and pronouncements, Abdul Hadi is now perceived as an extremist, a hate preacher, a corrupt politician and a racist. The PAS president never ceases to amaze Malaysians these days with his nonsensical, racist and extremist remarks.
With Abdul Hadi at the helm of PAS, the party has a bleak future. At best, it could continue to rule Kelantan and Terengganu. I don’t think the current crop of PAS leaders, some of whom are known religious bigots, should ever be appointed federal ministers.
I am extremely disgusted by Abdul Hadi’s latest racial slurs that the root cause of corruption in the country was the non-Malays and not the Malays.
By spewing the worst kinds of racism and hatred, PAS wants to make itself relevant to the Malay-Muslim masses. It seems that to Abdul Hadi and his ilk, they know that racism will help them get more support from the Malays compared with their abstract version of religion.
So, it’s all politics and power, isn’t it? Nothing to do with religious beliefs!
Oh, how I wish PAS has a leader like the late Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat again.
On record, the late Tok Guru Nik Aziz received the highest honour I have ever paid to a political figure.
To me, Tok Guru Nik Aziz is a saint, I wrote in an obituary for the late PAS spiritual leader upon his passing in 2015.
A real Muslim whom I revere and respect. Political leaders do not normally come under my radar for praises. But Nik Aziz is one in a million. He was a God-sent.
Let me also state that as a Christian, I have never described any Christian politician as a saint nor those sharing the same Catholic faith as me. Indeed, some became very unchristian once they were in power.
None were any way near the humility, integrity and credibility of Nik Aziz, the man, the politician and the Islamic cleric.
Nik Aziz was an exemplary humanist and a true Islamic. I also recall making a declaration years ago that if I were a Malay and a Muslim and keen on a political career, I would join PAS. Why? Because of Nik Aziz. Somehow, you felt safe and secure when he was the party’s top leader.
There is no doubt that Abdul Hadi has started indulging in electoral warfare as the 15th general election looms. He is sharpening his tools to be relevant to the Malays again.
The PAS chief probably believes that by engaging in racism of the worst kind, more Malays would support PAS. The party’s religious credentials are just not enough to get the support of the Malays, so it has to outdo the other racial parties by subscribing to the worst and most blatant forms of racism.
This is where Abdul Hadi, despite his decades in politics and Islamic credentials, got it all wrong. And he could well bring PAS down with him…perhaps for the better of racial and religious tolerance and harmony in the country too.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.