Umno cleric, scholar continue push for talks with PAS
KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The “muzakarah” (discussion) agreed upon by PAS leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat with Muslim and Malay-based non-governmental organisations (NGO), including Umno, for Malay unity and the ummah to uphold the Malays and Islam should be honest and sincere.
Many Malays and Muslims feel that imposing conditions on the talks would fail the effort, and was political capital for the coming 13th general election.
“I am for the idea of a ‘muzakarah’ as it is encouraged in Islam and it will make a positive impact on Muslim unity,” Young Malaysian Muslim Theologians working committee secretariat chairman Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya told Bernama.
However, he was disappointed with PAS for imposing conditions even before the discussions were held, which was viewed as insincere and only profitable to the party.
“Firstly, I commend Umno for accepting the proposal for a ‘muzakarah’ and I commend PAS for wanting to have one. Unfortunately, there is a PAS leader who wants to discuss with syiah members, but not members of the Sunnah wal Jamaah for fear of being immoral.
“Is it not immoral to think negatively even before the ‘muzakarah’? For what? Is it political rhetoric? I am saddened by this,” he said.
Fathul Bari did not deny that a “muzakarah” required conditions, but the conditions should not be one-sided and for the good of any specific party.
“Please remember that a ‘muzakarah’ is not about winning or finding faults, and one needs to be able to accept reality. Appoint a moderator among academicians so the discussion will result in something beneficial,” he added.
Divisions in the Malays and Muslims in Malaysia need to be viewed seriously as others may take advantage of the situation. Therefore, a large portion of the public feels that it is necessary for PAS to have a “muzakarah” with Umno for the future, Malay political power and Malay unity, as well as to uphold Islam.
National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) senior lecturer Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, in his blog, said there was no need for Muslims to compete to show their strength and power in political matters, which would only create division.
“Let us compete in matters which will bring us good, such as a strong economy and education, as well as bring the spirit of ‘jihad’.
“PAS and Umno need to get rid of prejudice between one another. It is time to work for Islam. Be matured in politics and ignore revenge to make plans and strategies,” he said.
For Oxford University Fellow Associate Professor Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, dialogues, discussions, negotiations and attempts to understand one another was a sign of the civilised.
“These two parties represent our people, so it is apt for them to discuss when necessary,” he was quoted in his blog, DrMaza.com.
The former Perlis mufti said basically, discussions towards appeasing conflict between Muslims was part of Islamic teaching and a “muzakarah” should not be a platform to debate grievances between both parties as it could be done in Parliament.
“It is best for both parties to find common ground which will benefit the people and country. In reality, both parties are similar in many ways.
“Their wishes and goals are the same. They have similar sentiments and similar joys and pains,” he said.
Meanwhile, former PAS vice-president Datuk Mohd Nakhaie Ahmad said he was confident that several PAS leaders were intent on discussing with Umno while others gave conflicting statements aimed at failing the efforts.
He said, besides conflicting statements, imposing conditions such as requiring Umno to change its constitution seemed part of the effort to prevent the “muzakarah” from materialising.
“Umno does not need to worry about this. PAS has long asked for a ‘muzakarah’ but it never happened. They are not sincere in this and only use it as they have run out of capital,” the Islamic Dakwah Foundation Malaysia chairman told Bernama. — Bernama