Pas council: Anwar owes us an explanation

(NST) – Several members of Pas syura council are not mincing their words in demanding opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim retract his statement expressing support for Israel’s security, said a member, Datuk Mahfodz Mohamed, yesterday.

“I know for a fact that at the meeting, some members were already convinced that those were the very words uttered by Anwar.

“And that was why the syura council decided to take action. We know what he said, and that is why we convened a meeting, took action and came out with the resolution,” Mahfodz, who is also Pas dewan ulama vice-chief, told the New Straits Times.

The outspoken senior Pas leader also reiterated that Israel was an illegal state built at the expense of innocent lives.

“If you want to support the ‘state’ of Israel, shouldn’t there be support for the state of Palestine as well?

“As of now, we are waiting for Anwar’s return from overseas to provide an explanation over the statement.”

On Monday, Pas spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said he wanted to meet Anwar to seek a clarification on his statement during an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Speaking to reporters in Kota Baru yesterday, Nik Aziz reiterated that Anwar should explain the issue.

“I will not reply to him and this includes his recent remark that he would stick to his earlier statement to support all the efforts to protect the security of Israel.

“Let him (Anwar) reply to all the issues (on the topic) raised by others. I do not want to interfere any more.

“I do not mind if he does not respect Pas or me, but he must explain his statement.”

Asked whether he would meet Anwar during his trip to Kuala Lumpur next week, Nik Aziz said he was waiting for Anwar to make the call.

“I think it is good if he wants to see me in KL so that there is no need for him to come to Kelantan.”

Former Penang Pas Youth chief Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nordin urged Pas to review its alliance with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) following Anwar’s statement.

Hafiz said Pas’ top leaders had taken a “soft” approach on the matter when a stronger message should be sent to Anwar.

He said until now, Anwar had yet to retract his “rude” statement or heed Nik Aziz’s advice to sue the Wall Street Journal if his statement had been “twisted”.

“There is no need to compromise with someone who supports Israel. Pas should break off its relations with PKR.

“Anwar has shown his true colours,” he said during a small rally after Friday prayers yesterday outside Masjid Jamek Shaik Eusoff in Jalan Datuk Keramat, Penang.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said Anwar’s eagerness to gather support by making Israel-support statements was a mistake.

“This is a serious issue. By supporting Israel, Anwar is ignoring the Palestinians’ sufferings. He is still defending his stand despite request from Pas for an explanation,” said Hishammuddin
in Kluang.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem Post contributing writer Michael Ordman has created a buzz in the cyberworld and once again ruffled the feathers of those who were against the Israeli occupation in Palestine. In his blog (blogs.jpost. comcontentwe-have-lift), he praised Anwar for expressing his support for Israel.

Political and sociology experts believed Ordman’s praise would affect Pakatan Rakyat’s support base in the next general election.

Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk  of Universiti Sains Malaysia said although it would not have any impact on Anwar’s hardcore supporters, it could affect the fence-sitters and those who were closely watching what was happening in Palestine.

“It is for the thinking Malaysians to conclude for themselves what Anwar’s true intention is.”

Assoc Prof Sivamurugan Pandian, also from USM, said  as a Muslim country, Malaysia was always against the legitimisation of the Israeli state.

“(With Ordman’s remark praising Anwar), the ruling Barisan Nasional can strategically use it as a tool. This can affect Pas, especially among their own traditional supporters.”

The extent of the “damage”,  however, could only be determined once the 13th general election results come out, said sociologist Professor Kamaruddin M. Said.

“There will be certain impact, especially among the Malay Muslims, in this country. Those who are traditionally against Israeli occupation in Palestine will be quite upset.”

On Feb 6, Ordman had expressed  approval of Anwar by stating: “And from the political world, I personally liked the news of the high regard that Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim gave to the Jewish state when asked whether he would open diplomatic ties with Israel.”

In 2008, the Jerusalem Post’s article by Shani Ross,  coordinator of Executive Programs & Conferences at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya, Israel, had  described PKR as the “icon for political progress, justice and equality”. Additional reporting by Rizalman Hammim, Looi Sue Chern and Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah