KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — Plantations and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali should be treated like a “hero” who saved Malaysia with his Turkey investment “good news” when the country is struggling economically, according to PAS Musyidul Am Datuk Hashim Jasin.

Hashim who is the highest spiritual leader in the Islamic party said PAS members are obliged to defend Khairuddin, a fellow member, from “persecution” by political enemies even as he affirmed the minister was in violation of the government’s mandatory requirement for self-quarantine upon returning to the country after his Turkey trip last month.

“PAS people should not sit still, the hero who saved Malaysia, was persecuted. PAS people should not just keep quiet and let him defend himself,” he said during the Ipoh PAS annual general meeting last Saturday that has since been aired on Facebook.

“We should voice, give support, stand firmly behind the minister of commodities,” he added.

According to Hashim, Khairuddin who broke the 14-day quarantine order for all returnees, was not in the wrong. Instead, he claimed the blame lay with the Health Ministry and the Foreign Ministry for being “negligent”.

“The Ministry of Health is negligent, there is nothing [wrong], [it’s] negligence, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that caused him to be attacked,” Hashim said in the video.

He noted that the Opposition rallied for Khairuddin’s resignation as minister. 

In the face of such “attacks”, Hashim called on PAS to rise and stand in solidarity with Khairuddin whom he likened to the hud-hud or hoopoe bird in the Quran.

He related the story of the bird and Prophet Sulaiman in Surah Al-Naml from the Quran.

In his retelling, Hashim noted that the bird broke an order by the prophet, but brought news that eventually benefitted Islam.

“Indeed, he was in violation when [Sulaiman] called him. He did not come, but he brought benefits to Islam. He became a hero,” Hashim said of the bird.

“Same as the minister, he is a hero,” he added.

According to Hashim, Khairuddin’s Turkey trip helped boost Malaysia’s palm oil exports by adding another 300,000 tonnes from the current 700,000 tonnes a year, raising the total to one million tonnes a year. 

“The person who deserves it, this hud-hud, Dr Khairuddin, is a beacon to Malaysians. Palm oil rising in price is not for the Malays only. For all citizens, for the national economy,” he said.

According to Hashim further, Khairuddin who was supposed to be in quarantine was obliged to attend Parliament when it was in session due to a critical vote taking place then that was crucial to the Perikatan Nasional government.

“...he has no restrictions, it is not his fault,” Hashim said in defence of Khairuddin.

He then urged the Perak Ulama Council to put in a motion to support and defend Khairuddin at the party’s upcoming national annual general meeting later this year.

Khairuddin is under police investigation for flouting the 14-day quarantine meant to prevent the spread of infectious diseases following 27 police complaints filed.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on August 25 that his ministry had not known about Khairuddin’s travel plans and had only found out about from media reports later.

In a statement on August 22, the Health Ministry said it had issued a RM1,000 compound against the Kuala Nerus MP on August 7, for offences under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 and Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).