Anwar caught in another video controversy

(The Star) – A new controversy is swirling over Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim‘s recent trip to Sabah to woo voters there, this time for remarks he is claimed to have made against PAS leaders.

A video of his speech, being circulated by pro-Barisan Nasional bloggers, seems to show him belittling the PAS leadership to stress that Pakatan Rakyat had not changed its stand on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Among the remarks heard in the one-minute clip are his accusations that PAS mursyidul am Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat no longer understands Islam and his description of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as a mere follower.

It is the second controversy to hit the PKR following Anwar’s visit to Sabah. The first is the alleged conferment of the Huguan Siou (paramount leader) title to Anwar that angered Sabahans, because the revered title is traditionally bestowed only on members of the Kadazandusun community.

In the video clip, Anwar claims that Umno is campaigning against him, and says: “Tok Guru Nik Aziz? Tok Guru Nik Aziz also does not understand Islam now.

“Ustaz Hadi Awang? He also doesn’t know, he only follows.”

The video clip is part of a recording of Anwar’s speech at a PKR Chinese New Year open house at a hotel in Sabah last week.

It has been reported that Anwar and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali had called on PAS to stick to a decision made by the Pakatan Rakyat presidential council on Jan 9 to allow non-Muslims to use the word “Allah”.

The PAS Syura Council had on Jan 13 objected to the use of the word in Malay Bibles.

In the clip, Anwar says the Pakatan leadership had reached a consensus on the issue after discussions with Hadi in his capacity as PAS president.

Anwar is heard in the video as saying that Pakatan had agreed that non-Muslims could use the word “Allah” but they should not “dishonour, ridicule and smear” the sacred term.

When contacted, PKR vice-president Tian Chua said Anwar clearly stated in the video that it was Umno that had been going around claiming that Nik Aziz does not understand Islam and Hadi was a mere follower.