KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — Caretaker Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor sought to assure non-Muslims that their lifestyles would not change under a Perikatan Nasional (PN) government that includes PAS.
Appearing as a guest in last night’s Keluar Sekejap podcast episode, Muhammad Sanusi said his Islamist party has no issues with how people live their lives, as long as it didn’t go against Shariah law.
He was replying to hosts Khairy Jamaluddin and Shahril Sufian Hamdan who asked how PAS would break the perception held by non-Muslims that the party would change their way of life should it rule.
Khairy pointed out that Shariah law is only applicable for Muslims and asked Muhammad Sanusi for his view on the recent case in PAS-ruled Kelantan in which a non-Muslim woman was fined for wearing allegedly indecent clothing inside her shop in Kota Baru.
Muhammad Sanusi answered that the locals did not object to the by-laws when it was introduced, and that the incident only blew up afterwards in an attempt to portray PAS as an extreme party.
“The woman was fined for wearing shorts that were barely visible. But when the pictures were taken, she was holding the fine receipt with a different pair of shorts,” he said, pointing to the change in clothing that made the incident go viral on social media.
He added that the fine imposed on the woman was only RM50, “not a big deal”.
“But the Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming wanted to play hero and told the woman not to pay the fine.
“What kind of minister are you? Do you want to uphold the law or your personal view?” he asked.
Muhammad Sanusi also said the Kota Baru Municipal Council was not given the chance to explain why the fine was issued in the first place, adding that this was unfair.
Khairy then asked Muhammad Sanusi about rumours that PAS – if it is elected back to power in Kedah – would ban alcohol sales and consumption in Langkawi, a popular tourist island.
The PAS politician replied that alcohol is still being sold at duty-free shops and licensed restaurants there and the issue was yet to be raised.
“What we worry is that it could be sold at shops that don’t have the licence and can be bought by anyone. If you’re Muslim you can’t buy it, but if you non-Muslim then you can consume alcoholic beverages.
“However, I think alcohol is not the main attraction in Langkawi. There are several other attractions,” he said.
Muhammad Sanusi also said that whatever is currently allowed in non-Muslim religions and cultures can carry on if PN and PAS return to power, but added that this practice should not be abused.
“They said gambling is part of Chinese culture. I totally disagree on this and this is why gambling has been banned in Kedah.
“This is not Chinese culture; only DAP does it. And the Chinese community in Kedah have accepted the gambling ban and there is no problems,” he said.
Khairy then referred to a recent statement by PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang on Malays in Pakatan Harapan who the latter claimed aim to control politics to the point they are willing to “berwala” – an Islamic term meaning help and protect – non-Muslims, a move allegedly forbidden by Allah, which he deemed to be extreme.
Khairy said such statements could bring more harm to PAS than the stereotypes purportedly portrayed by the DAP.
He also reminded Muhammad Sanusi that PAS had worked with the DAP in the past.
Muhammad Sanusi replied that as long as Abdul Hadi’s comments are in accordance with Shariah law and the Quran, then it is true and the opinion should not be withheld.
“Previously, when PAS worked together with DAP, there were certain regulations. DAP’s Lim Guan Eng had signed certain agreements that they would not hinder PAS from implementing an Islamic country.
“However, what is happening now is whatever DAP has asked, they are doing it. This is what berwala refers to here,” he said.