ADUN SPEAKS | The system allows Hadi to spit racist venom
ADUN SPEAK | A few years ago, the PAS had pretensions of being a religious party, but all that evaporated in the cauldron of racial politics.
PAS leaders, especially under its chairman Abdul Hadi Awang, are aware of the definite limits of pursuing an entirely religious ideology, although religion and ethnicity coincide with the Malays.
They are also aware that the pulse of politics is ethnicity and how that can be pushed to the limit to be politically relevant.
The leaders of PAS are a bunch of racists and extremists – they fully realize that even if Islam coincides with the Malays in the country, a religious approach to politics might not get the votes.
When it comes to politics, the party is learning that it pays to take an ethnically exclusionary approach.
Such an approach, it seems, could endear the party to the conservative Malaysian electorate, long influenced by the worst forms of ethnic politics.
The fact that the party is in the midst of competitive politics with other Malaysian parties should bear in mind why PAS has moved away from religion towards an ethnic approach to politics.
From religiosity to ethnicity
While religion is perhaps a little too abstract to gain adherents, engagement with ethnicity promises continued support for PAS.
This is why PAS has constantly shifted from amorphous religiosity to ethnicity, not just any form of ethnicity, but the most extreme, much more than Umno or Bersatu could profess .
Umno and Bersatu have a certain responsibility to ensure respect for the existence of the multiracial population in the country.
They still harbor the idea that non-Malaysians could be won over to their side with the right mix of ethnic nationalism and respect for the federal Constitution.
But unfortunately, the PAS being an exclusive party, has no claim to respect the multiracial composition of the country.
If he succeeds, non-Malaysians could even be excluded from the mainstream of Malaysian politics.
It is no surprise that Hadi has the temerity to blame non-Malaysians for being the cause of corruption in the country.
It was he who once advocated that all high civil offices be reserved for Malays.
For Hadi, the Malays can do no wrong; corruption is the work of greedy and selfish non-Malaysians.
The non-Malays by virtue of their control of the economy and the society create a situation where the Malays have become corrupt and defiled.
We can expect more extremism
In the days and months to come, Hadi will be expected to say more absurd and extreme things about non-Malaysians.
Remember, with the 15th General Election fast approaching, Hadi and others are very tempted to further polarize society based on inflammatory policies.
There is a lot of tolerance for narrow-minded and ethnic chauvinists like Hadi by the current misguided government.
The government may not act to arrest and charge him for his extremely derogatory remarks towards non-Malaysians.
Imagine a non-Malaysian leader saying similar things about Malays, the whole law enforcement division will be on to him.
If Hadi can make such absurd and inflammatory remarks about non-Malaysians, then the real problem is not him.
It was the country’s political system based on racism and religious fanaticism that allowed someone like Hadi to make absurd remarks and get away with it.
Similarly, in the recent past, derogatory statements and remarks have been made about religions other than Islam. I doubt the police even care to investigate the hundreds of police reports against the perpetrators.
Hadi can get away with saying unbelievable things about non-Malaysians because the system allows such absurd insults.
P RAMASAMY is a member of Perai Assembly and Deputy Chief Minister of Penang II.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.