Hadi continues to receive flak for remark on local government polls

Derek Fernandez

V. Anbalagan The Malaysian Insider

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang continues to receive criticism over his remark on Friday that local government polls could cause a deeper racial divide and trigger riots similar to the May 13 incident.

Former Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez said the PAS president’s remark was equivalent to allowing democracy to be held to ransom by extremists, racists and those who advocate violence.

“Are you (Hadi) saying that because a person is unhappy with the result of an election since the winner is of another race, that person is entitled to use force and violence so that democracy is hijacked?”

Fernandez, a lawyer whose specialty is local government law, said Hadi’s stand was illogical because there would be no point in holding the federal and state elections.

All it will take to stop the elections, he said, was for extremists to issue threats, to say that they did not want someone of a different race or faith.

Fernandez said he hoped that Hadi, whose party professed Islamic principles of justice, and also as an elected representative, would deeply reflect on his stand.

“It is strange that while Hadi got elected as MP and assemblyman through elections, he will deny others that right when it comes to local government elections,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

On Friday, Hadi said DAP’s insistence on holding local council elections could cause a deeper racial divide, as well as tension, and that PAS rejected any move that could bring about a repeat of the May 13 riots.

Hadi said DAP’s push for local government elections was a mistake as it was only advantageous to urban residents, who were mainly non-Malays.

His remarks were a result of a war of words between PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali and DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke over the issue of local government elections.

Hadi’s statement was supported Local Government and Urband Development Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Umno mouth piece Mingguan Malaysia.

Fernandez said Hadi’s stand also went against the principles of the founding fathers of Malaysia as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

“The law does not say that a person must be of a particular race to be elected to public office. All Malaysians have the right to choose who they want to represent them,” he added.