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DAP regrets the highly provocative statement of PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang on the need for the Anti-ICERD rally to continue

DAP regrets the highly provocative statement of PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang[1] on the need for the Anti-ICERD rally to continue because PAS wants to protest and are opposed to the fact that Muslim MPs were outnumbered by non-Muslim MPs in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.[2] Instead of preaching national unity amongst all Malaysians of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, Hadi continues to try to divide Malaysians, by pitting the Muslim majority against the non-Muslim minority.

Firstly, the figures quoted by Abdul Hadi Awang are not accurate. He said that there are 66 Non-Muslim MPs and 58 Muslim MPs in the PH coalition. In actual fact, there are 62 Muslim MPs in the PH coalition. The Bumiputera MPs, which includes the non-Muslim Bumiputeras, outnumber the non-Bumiputeras 70 to 58 in the PH coalition. Does Hadi considers non-Muslim bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak as not equal to the status of bumiputeras, just because they are not Muslims?

Secondly, the cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, is the decision making body when it comes to setting policies for the country and the cabinet had already decided that we would not proceed with the ratification of International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Within the cabinet, there is no question of Muslims outnumbering non-Muslims. Of the 28 cabinet members i.e. full ministers (including the Prime Minister and Senators), 17 are Muslims (61%) and 11 are non-Muslims (39%). Among the 27 Deputy Ministers, 18 are Muslim (67%) and 9 are non-Muslim (33%).

Further there are 140 Muslim MPs compared to 82 non-Muslim MPs in Parliament. How can Muslim rights be threatened when Muslim MPs comprise 63% of MPs in Parliament? Using Hadi’s logic, shouldn’t then non-Muslims feel threatened by the 63% Muslim MPs in Parliament?

Thirdly, rather than just focus on matters from a single racial lens or one-dimensional religious perspective, we should look at the broader picture to look at issues from a more holistic angle. We want to make decisions which benefit the entire country and for Malaysians of all races, religions and backgrounds. We want to strengthen our institutions, improve our governance and uphold our integrity. After all, despite being led by a Muslim Prime Minister in the previous government, this did not prevent us from being branded as a global kleptocracy as a result of the 1MDB scandal, which debts we will be servicing for the next 30 years. Similarly MIC and MCA leaders were also caught in financial scandals, highlighting that corruption is colour-blind or affect equally both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Despite the PH government’s stand not to ratify ICERD, Hadi still wants to protest against ICERD. Clearly this ICERD demonstration is no longer about protesting against ICERD, since the ICERD issue is no longer relevant, but about the political survival and making political capital for PAS. DAP will leave it to Malaysians to decide, whether Hadi in making provocative statements pitting Muslims against non-Muslims, is extremist or responsible?

If Hadi refuses to call off the rally but insist on protesting against ICERD, even though there is no ICERD in Malaysia, I recommend that the PAS president use this occasion to protest against all financial scandals which took place under the leadership of UMNO led Barisan Nasional, rather than distract the country from these financial scandals and corruption. This would be the right thing to do for all Malaysians, both for Muslims as well as for non-Muslims.

[2] Including WARISAN in Sabah

DAP SECRETARY-GENERAL & MP FOR BAGAN
Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 5th December 2018