KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu has dismissed the longevity of Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) control over the Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis state governments or the so-called “SG4.”
Speaking to Malay Mail, the politician known as Mat Sabu said the governments there would not be able to sustain themselves if they remain wrapped up by issues of Islamic jurisprudence rather than other policies.
“With the current type of administration they practise, it won’t last,” he said in a recent interview.
Mohamad said the SG4, with the Islamist party PAS dominating their state governments, are focusing too much on Islamic worship rather than Islamic values — such as good governance and cleanliness.
“I give you an example, if any PAS leader practises corruption, no one of their people will bat an eye but if you see them wearing shorts at beaches, chaos will happen.
“It will become a huge issue because Islamic jurisprudence for them is much more important. This type of mindset needs to be changed,” he suggested.
He contrasted how neighbouring Thailand upholds cleanliness to the point of marketing their public toilets in petrol stations as clean, to how unkempt the Siti Khadijah Market is in Kota Baru.
“It’s dirty, garbage is all over the place. Where’s the Islamic values and good governance?” he asked.
The former PAS deputy president also said the top countries practising Islamic values are those that are not Muslim-majority countries such as New Zealand, Japan and a few Scandinavian countries.
In June, Malay Mail reported that Malaysia was ranked 43rd out of 149 in the most recent version of Islamicity Index that measures how “Islamic” a country is, although it is the best-performing Muslim-majority country with a score of 6.29.
European country Denmark topped the list with a score of 8.87, followed by Ireland (8.83), the Netherlands (8.78), Sweden (8.74) and Iceland (8.72).
Mohamad mentioned the repeated cases of tahfiz schools — where Muslim children learn Quran memorisation — were shut down by authorities, and how these instances would impact the pupils.
“Lots of tahfiz schools were established in the past, but after five or six years, they’ll be closed down because they are not well maintained. The kids, where will they go? If they want to continue their studies in Egypt, they can’t do that. Their learning process was stopped halfway through.
“Things like these should be taken care of. The owner of the schools can have a Vellfire, three wives but in a few years, the schools will be closed down,” he said, referring to the luxury minivan.
“If you want to open a tahfiz school, then go ahead but it needs to be systemised, with a healthcare system and everything from top to bottom,” he added.
He also suggested that although PAS have governed Kelantan for over two decades, the state now is much different from how it was under PAS’ late spiritual leader Tan Sri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
“Let’s look at the government of these four states. How far can they go? An exception was Nik Aziz’s, which lasted longer. What we see is that they can’t survive. Like I mentioned earlier, their good governance and Islamic behaviour is still very low,” he said.
The agriculture and food security minister cited the now-defunct Parti Semangat Melayu 46 and Parti Pejuang Tanahair — which were formed by Umno figures such as Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad — as examples of parties failing to win over the public’s heart after playing up race and religion sentiments.
“Any kind of extremism is doomed to fail. If you look at Semangat 46, half of Umno’s supreme council was there, it is no more now. Look at Pejuang, which was led by Dr Mahathir and his people, they were rejected by the people.
“And I think Bersatu will follow that route, because how many of their MPs have declared support to the prime minister so far?” he asked, referring to the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia MPs that declared support to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s administration.
Bersatu was also established by Dr Mahathir and former Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. It had partnered with Pakatan Harapan, but ended this in the “Sheraton Move” that led to the fall of Dr Mahathir’s administration in 2020.
Dr Mahathir was recently appointed the unofficial adviser to the SG4.