KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — PAS leaders warned the federal government today its members will “rise” if action were to be taken now to penalise its volunteer unit, which it said has been around for over 20 years.
Arguing that its Unit Amal was a charity organisation, Temerloh MP and former PAS youth chief Nasruddin Hassan said its members will not stay still in the face of Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s threat earlier today against the volunteer Corp.
“I urge Datuk Zahid Hamidi not to mistakenly victimise Jabatan Amal through narrow political ideology as we will rise up because I am one of the members of Jabatan Amal Malaysia,” Nasruddin said in a brief statement, using the official name for PAS’ volunteer charity Corp.
Zahid—whose ministry oversees homeland security—said he was very sure the police will crack down on Unit Amal as he considers the group to have the same status as the Penang Volunteer Patrol Unit (PPS), which the police deemed illegal.
Police detained 155 members of the PPS yesterday after the Merdeka Day parade in Penang, on grounds that the organisation is not registered with the Registrar of Societies (RoS).
PAS Youth chief Suhaizan Kaiat, whose party wing oversees Unit Amal’s operations, said it was baffling that the authorities are targeting the unit when all it has done was extend welfare and humanitarian aid to Malaysians across the country.
“Jabatan Amal has served for more than 20 years and there were times it cooperated with the police and government agencies, suddenly it is made a scapegoat. I do not understand this Zahid,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page today.
“I ask Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to make an open apology over the mistake in his statement on Jabatan Amal, Pemuda PAS Malaysia,” Suhaizan added.
PAS Kuala Terengganu MP Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah said it is regressive for the authorities to crackdown on civil society movements such as PPS and Unit Amal, which fulfil a “fundamental need” for the public to organise themselves for their own well-being.
He claimed that the authorities have given “anarchists and right wing groups” free reign while “well-meaning peaceful groups” suffer the brunt of persecution, leaving the less-fortunate with nowhere else to turn while VVIPs take all the spoils.
“Merdeka also means having the liberty to be able to look out for our own welfare and safety,” he said in a statement.
The authorities have been on an enforcement spree over the past two weeks, launching sedition probes and charging opposition lawmakers and others over a laundry list of allegedly seditious behaviour, with the latest target an academic.
Tomorrow, University of Malaya law lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom will be hauled up before the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court over an allegedly sedition remark he made in an article carried by Malay Mail Online.
Just last week, the Sedition Act 1948 was used to charge PKR lawmaker N. Surendran on two separate counts of criticising the Court of Appeal’s ruling that overturned PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal from the latter’s second sodomy rap.
PAS’s Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad was also charged last week for allegedly questioning the powers of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Sultan of Selangor, while the late DAP chairman Karpal Singh was earlier this year found guilty of sedition for questioning the Sultan of Perak’s decision to remove Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak mentri besar in 2009.