Malaysia

Umno a hypocrite for anti-PAS welfare state stand, says Muslim cleric

By G. Manimaran
June 10, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has labelled Umno a hypocritical party for slamming its political foe’s pro-welfare state stand raised at the PAS annual general assembly last week.

The popular Muslim cleric said Umno, as the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) lynchpin which is also supposed to represent the Malay voice, should have supported the Islamist party’s idea instead of slamming it as conservative and fanatical.

“I don’t know Umno’s actual stand. Previously, Umno criticised PAS for being controlled by the ulamas, now with the professionals in charge they are still whacking the party.

“I see Umno as a hypocrite... Previously, it (Umno) said PAS is jumud, so I don’t think this attitude is right,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

The vocal Asri (picture) said Umno’s attack on PAS was uncalled, noting it had transformed into a more open and inclusive party.

“If before the non-Muslims were fearful of an Islamic state, now PAS is more open, more progressive than Umno,” he said.

Last Friday, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had raised the concept of a welfare state in a developing country in his speech at the 57th muktamar.

The party’s spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had backed the idea yesterday, saying the welfare state as pushed for by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact, especially PAS, was in line with Islam.

Nik Aziz explained the welfare concept did not mean it had to be material benefits and gave as an example the Kelantan government’s action to shutter nightclubs to prevent social ills.

The Kelantan mentri besar said welfare was something that can assure citizens of their safety in the material world and the hereafter.