KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 ― The idea of an all-Malay Cabinet line-up is irrational as it rejects the concept of diversity in politics, Pakatan Harapan leaders have said.
They were referring to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang who said the federal Cabinet should consist of only Malays as they are the majority race.
In an article written in PAS's newspaper Harakah on Friday, Hadi said Islam had outlined that a national leader and his Cabinet members must profess the Islamic faith and that the role of non-Muslims should be restricted to management duties.
“An all-Malay Cabinet is a far-out concept in our new political climate and is not rational.
“Even Islam teaches tolerance and cooperation and embraces a diverse society,” Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub told Malay Mail.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) supreme council member Datuk Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff accused Hadi of using religion to suit his conservative political views.
“Islam is very consistent about everything. Islamic principles don’t change colours like a chameleon to suit changing parochial views to suit one’s own narrow political path.
“That is merchandising Islam for narrow politics and I must say Hadi is indeed a merchant trader of Islam, using Islam to justify whatever he wants,” he said.
DAP member of parliament for Klang, Charles Santiago said Hadi's opinion piece shows he is ignorant of Malaysia's diversity.
“He speaks of Malay hegemonic leadership of the country and in so doing discriminates against the non-Malays. I do not think Islam allows for other communities to be discriminated upon. If anything it speaks of equality for all people,” he said.
Santiago also drew comparisons to other parts of the world where religion is utilised as a form of governance.
He said many of these societies have seen bloodshed, sectarian violence, a lack of social consultation when it comes to policy-making, and inequality.
“Whereas if you look at nations that do not focus on religion (as a governing system) the inequality is much smaller. The checks and balances on power are very high, and although present corruption is kept under control,” he said.
“He remains oblivious to the Federal Constitution which speaks of everyone's rights. This is disappointing, coming from the leader of an Islamic party who once spoke of welfare for all but now speaks of Malay-Muslim national hegemony.
“As an Islamic party, this is a poor prescription for the country, something not thought through enough. Hadi really ought to rethink his policies, because PAS can do better I think,” Santiago said.