‘Nik Aziz splits Muslims here and hereafter’


PETALING JAYA: Finding the PAS spiritual leader’s comments a bitter pill to swallow, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad needles Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and the Islamic party.

According to the 85-year-old statesman, the Kelantan menteri besar, who is five years his junior, has divided Muslims in Malaysia.

This, he said, is PAS and Nik Aziz’s greatest accomplishment over the decades.

Mahathir is sore with the PAS leader’s statement that the Malays in Malaysia rejected Islam more than Singapore’s former premier Lee Kuan Yew.

“It seems that Nik Aziz prefers to sieze the opportunity to condemn his political rivals instead of defending Islam and Muslims against Lee’s attack,” he said in a blog posting.

He added that Nik Aziz considered the Malay nationalists’ brand of Islam much worse.

“During the time of the British, many Malay luminaries drank alcohol and Muslim workers consumed toddy. There were very few mosques, and not many Muslims prayed,” he said.

However, Mahathir added, the Malay nationalists’ struggle changed this: alcohol was banned from official functions, Islamic values were absorbed into the administration, government funds were used for Islamic activities, more mosques were built and much more.

“But what did PAS and Nik Aziz do? Their biggest contribution was dividing the Muslims. The formation of PAS itself divided the community after the Malays had united under Umno,” he said.

Mahathir went on to cite other examples of how PAS sows the seeds of divisiveness, such as forbidding PAS members form marrying those from Umno, barring them from attending “kenduri” (receptions) held by Umno people, as well as having separate cemeteries for PAS and Umno people.

“It is as if PAS wants the divisiness among Malay Muslims to continue in the hereafter,” he added.

New lease of life

When PAS contested the general elections (1955 until 1986), Mahathir said, the party accused Umno of working with non-Muslims, and therefore becoming “kafir” (infidels).

“Then PAS joined forces with Semangat 46 and DAP in the 1990 and 1995 general elections. With this, the Umno splinter group, Semangat 46, was given a new lease of life and the Malays were split into three groups.

“Thank God, Semangat 46 returned to Umno and the Malay Muslim unity in Umno was healed. But when the then deputy president of Umno (Anwar Ibrahim) was sacked, Nik Aziz promptly gave him strong support so that the next splinter party to be formed could lure more members away from Umno,” he said.

“With Nik Aziz’s support, the Malays were once again split into three groups,” he added.

Not contented with this, Mahathir said, Nik Aziz was also willing to work with the Chinese-dominated DAP to form the opposition alliance.