Anger over PAS chief saying non-Muslim M'sians cannot be policymakers

This article is more than 12 months old

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Islamist party chief Abdul Hadi Awang has raised political heat after he appeared to have said that only Malay-Muslims can be Cabinet ministers.

The stance would be the opposite of what Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) stood for when it campaigned in the 2013 general election.

After being attacked by politicians from both sides of the political divide, the party said that his words, as published in party organ HarakahDaily online, were twisted by the media.

Non-Muslim leaders said Mr Hadi's views are against the Constitution, with the roughly 38 per cent non-Muslim minority guaranteed a voice in policymaking.

The issue could have a bearing on how non-Muslim voters view PAS as it has increasingly been making narrow interpretations of Islam since breaking up with a multiracial opposition alliance in 2015. PAS is also widely seen as a close ally of ruling party Umno, so the issue could also undermine Umno.

But did Mr Hadi, 70, say those words?

In his article on Dec 22, Mr Hadi wrote, among other things: "Islam states that the nation's leader and his Cabinet members should be Muslim and from the most influential race.

"But, at the same time, Islam is just in giving rights to those who are not Muslims in politics, economics and other matters."

After discussing how Islam, in his view, would run the country with principles that are just and fair, he wrote: "... Islam firmly makes it mandatory for the main leadership that looks after policy and concepts to be Muslims, and accepts those who are not Muslims in terms of their expertise and management, not on matters of policy and concepts."- THE STRAITS TIMES