Defending Nik Aziz

By Hafidz Baharom (The Nut Graph)

I’M not a fan of Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat or his party, PAS. In fact, I am personally downright against PAS ever winning the federal or any state government. This is because what PAS stands for is not in line with my own liberal beliefs in terms of religious freedoms and social issues.

I think most of them are hypocrites, except for Tok Guru Nik Aziz. I mean, who else in PAS would call for an investigation into Selangor PAS for its antics?

Personally, I reckon the state’s branch has gone power crazy, it being led by an ex-Umno leader and all. Even former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said about Selangor PAS chief Datuk Dr Hasan Ali: “No, not Hasan Ali. We can’t reaccept him into Umno. I have had some bad experiences with this guy.”

“Saint Nik”, while far from being perfect, has been nothing but honest and critical, even calling for “problematic” leaders like Hasan to be removed from PAS. He has been similarly candid about other issues of national interest.

I’m guessing this is why he is being targeted by Kelantan Umno Youth. They have reported Tok Guru to the MACC, along with his son-in-law, for accepting an RM65,000 VVIP package to perform the haj (holy pilgrimage) as a gift.

In keeping with his style of governance, Nik Aziz dropped the haj from his schedule and said he would go next year. Seeing photos of a 78-year-old man crying after making such an announcement was heart-wrenching. And the fact that multiple members of the political fraternity on the Barisan Nasional (BN) side accept bigger “gifts” without similar media coverage makes my blood boil.

Umno’s hypocrisy

Badruddin (Wiki commons)

Take former Jerai BN MP, Datuk Paduka Badruddin Amiruldin. After losing his seat, perhaps as a consequence of his sexism and also his remark that Karpal Singh was in a wheelchair as a punishment from God, guess what happened to him? He was made chairperson of the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama).

How about what was given to the previous Selangor government’s executive councillors? What would you call the RM40 million exco housing area in Shah Alam?

Some have called for Nik Aziz to resign as Kelantan menteri besar (MB) for having accepted the gift. Well, sure. If Tok Guru has to resign as MB for accepting this gift, then why is Datuk Seri Ali Rustam still Malacca chief minister after being found guilty of money politics in the Umno party elections? Why is Khairy Jamaluddin still head of Umno Youth after being issued a warning for being guilty of the same charge?

Kelantan Umno Youth also had the cheek to say that Nik Aziz accepting such a gift was “morally” wrong. Is it not also “morally wrong” to field a by-election candidate found guilty of money politics? Isn’t it also morally wrong to deny state royalty payments for oil, and simply labelling it wang ehsan? Isn’t it also morally wrong to be sexist?

What about leaders who spend the state’s money to go off to Disneyland? Is this not morally wrong? How about asking civil servants to “close one eye” for one’s personal timber shipment so one can make a quick buck? Is this not also morally wrong? And weren’t all of these perpetrated by either individual Umno leaders or an Umno-led government?

In trying to look virtuous, Kelantan Umno Youth is akin to a soot-covered pot calling a slightly smudged kettle black.

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