In his usual acerbic style, the former prime minister mocks the Islamic party for saying it is prepared to give senior positions to non-Muslims.PUTRAJAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today mocked PAS’ claim that it is ready to give senior positions to non-Muslims, saying the party should then appoint DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang as its president.
“What’s wrong with this? I’m sure there is nothing wrong with it as Kit Siang will surely protect Islam,” he told reporters here.
He said PAS, which claimed to be champions of Islam and was quick to label its rivals as “infidels” in a bid to win votes, was being hypocritical on the issue.
“They used to call us infidels but now they want non-Muslim leaders. Now they are not only co-operating (with non-Muslims), they want non-Muslim leaders.
“They should make Kit Siang their president. After all, he is a very patriotic Malaysian,” said the octogenarian.
Lim, who led the opposition during Mahathir’s rule, was and is still being accused of being anti- Malay and Islam.
Yesterday, PAS central working committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the party is ready to accept non-Muslims in senior positions including as deputy president.
The Kuala Selangor MP said the party was prepared to emulate Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party, which appointed Coptic Christian intellectual Rafiq Habib as its vice-president last year.
A new PAS?
Dzulkefly, one of the more progressive leaders in PAS, said the move was not against Islam.
He said the idea could be implemented as it was “only an administrative matter” that is allowed.
“Islam can address change for intellectual renewal. Islam can withstand the challenges of time,” said the PAS researcher.
However, Dzulkefly’s suggestion has not been verified by his party’s top leadership and the syura council which controls the direction of the party.
Although the idea may be accepted by the progressive faction of PAS, analysts are likely to shoot down any suggestion of a positive response from the conservatives within the party.
Dzulkefly’s idea is consistent with PAS’ effort to win non-Muslim votes, beginning with the party’s move to tone its Islamic state agenda and fight for an all-inclusive “welfare state”.
It is also mooting to field non-Muslim candidates in the coming general election.
The bold shift in policies by PAS, however, has exposed the party to accusations by Umno that the former had “sold out” and sacrificed its Islamic principles for political mileage.
PAS was also accused of being a DAP stooge and that being a Malay Muslim party, it would be forced to follow the instructions of the latter should Pakatan Rakyat come to power.
Mahathir attempted to reinforce that suggestion today. He said that since DAP leaders are now very good at questioning the Quran, they should be allowed to lead the Islamist party.