PAS says Haj polls unIslamic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — PAS today said that the Prime Minister should not hold general elections during the Haj pilgrimage season, saying that such a move would make him a traitor to Islam.
Yesterday, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was reported as not discounting the possibility of polls during the period for Muslims’ pilgrimage, saying that it had been done during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure as prime minister.
“If Datuk Seri Najib holds the elections during the Haj season, he is a traitor to Islam and Muslims,” said Datuk Mustafa Ali, the secretary-general of PAS, in a press conference at the party’s headquarters.
He said that polls during Haj would “deny the rights of the 30,000 Muslims in Malaysia that go for the pilgrimage.”
Mustafa said that both voting and the Haj pilgrimage are important to Muslims, while stressing that 30,000 voters can greatly affect elections outcome.
“The last general elections show an ADUN (state assemblyman) can win with less than 100 votes (margin), while a Parliment seat can be won or lost by a few hundred votes.”
He said that voting is a fundamental human right, and asked “why purposely hold elections during the Haj season? It can’t possibly be that it’s the only reasonable time in five years to do so.”
Mustafa called for Najib to “give a guarantee that elections won’t be held during the Haj season”.
He added that PAS is ready to debate with Umno over this issue.
Najib told reporters yesterday: “In (the country’s) history, elections have been conducted during Haj... in 1986 elections happened during Haj, during the tenure of [Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad].”
The PM was asked to respond to PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu’s remarks demanding he not call for election until after the Haj season. The Haj begins October 26.
“Only God decides on sins and blessings. We are not stopping anyone... if you want to go for Haj, go,” added Najib, who went for the pilgrimage last year.
Sources have said, however, that the Haj pilgrimage on October 26 and Barisan Nasional’s (BN) efforts to court the youth and Chinese vote could delay the general election to November.
The Malaysian Insider had reported on May 28 of a possible September general election but Najib’s announcement that Budget 2013 will be tabled on September 28 has pushed party strategists to look at a later date to ensure Budget goodies get to the ground also.