KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said only leaders of good character and with integrity should be allowed to stand for election, and those who are allowed to vote for them should be “mature”.
As part of his “Minda Presiden PAS” series of opinion pieces today, Abdul Hadi lambasted leaders who secure victory through corruption and deceit, even going so far as to accuse them of not being of an entirely sound mind.
“This is to the extent there is no difference between university graduates and those in detention or rehabilitation centres who have yet to successfully rehabilitate their minds and morals.
“What will happen to the affairs of the country and the ummah if leaders and the process that elects them are not governed by the condition that they must be individuals of a good religious and moral standing?
“Only those from among the group who want to power by any means possible will uphold the principle that anyone can be a candidate and vote to win an election for them without caring about the after-effects of this misstep,” he posted on his official Facebook page today.
Abdul Hadi said the minimum voting age should take into account political education and “voting eligibility” as this will ensure voters cast their ballot for the candidate with the most “integrity.”
He said currently, Western democracies have shown that age alone does not guarantee a good leader will be chosen.
“There are several examples of advanced western democracies, which have voted into power, those with the least integrity through elections.
“Such victories were achieved through corruption and cheating, with some acting half-mad, by admitting clear wrongdoings, as well as lying to the public and exhibiting other signs that demonstrated a lack of integrity,” he said
“Therefore, ‘leadership by example’ should be emphasised once more, as it has been forgotten by the Malays who forget easily (Melayu mudah lupa),” he said.
Although Abdul Hadi did not single out anyone as a target for his criticism, “Leadership By Example” was a campaign slogan of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his first term as prime minister in Malaysia in 1980s.
“Melayu mudah lupa” is also a catchphrase commonly associated with Dr Mahathir and was used in a poem that he penned and read to the 2001 Umno general assembly.
On March 26, Abdul Hadi said he supported the delay of Undi18’s implementation to September 2022, saying “voting needs maturity”.
Abdul Hadi’s Perikatan Nasional ally, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), on April 4 urged the Election Commission (EC) to speed up the implementation of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019 on lowering the voting age to 18.
Bernama reported Bersatu’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin as saying the move was necessary to recognise the role and involvement of youth in politics.
The EC announced on March 25 that the lowering of the voting age to 18 and automatic voter registration would not be implemented this June as previously scheduled.
It blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for delaying the implementation of the initiative, which was unanimously approved by Parliament in 2019.