Dr M says Muslim fracture may tempt foreign intrusion

By Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned that the split among Muslims in Malaysia into three groups may lead to foreign interference with the nation’s affairs.

National news agency Bernama reported the influential former prime minister as saying that the three Muslim groups were “warring” among themselves without using weapons like in other Islamic countries suffering disunity.

He did not, however, specifically identify the groups.

“Because of disunity, we have become weak,” said Dr Mahathir at a buka puasa dinner in Jerlun, Kedah, last night.

“We may have forgotten that 55 years ago, all Muslims in this country fought for independence and (opposed) the Malayan Union. At that time, the Muslims were weak, but we defeated the Malayan Union because we were united.

“Even though we did not have money and other strengths, but because we were united, we could triumph over the Malayan Union,” added the elder statesman.

Dr Mahathir’s remarks came as racial and religious tension heightened in multi-racial Malaysia after a series of controversial incidents this year.

The Penang Fatwa Council’s recent ban on loudspeaker broadcasts of Quran readings has caused furore among the Muslim community in Penang.

The DAP Penang headquarters was attacked in an arson attempt yesterday, with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng linking the attack to the ban.

Selangor religious authorities also raided a church in Petaling Jaya on August 3, accusing it of proselytising Muslims at a thanksgiving dinner there.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said that many Islamic countries were now facing problems such as internal strife, wars against foreigners, and famines.

“This is what is going on in many Islamic countries. In those countries, the people are not united. In the end, Muslims become weak and foreigners take the advantage to control Muslims,” he said.

“If we are not united, we will become like those Muslims. We have to work hard to ensure that Muslims do not suffer a terrible fate because of our disunity,” Dr Mahathir added.