Prove we’re anti-Islam, Anwar tells critics of unity govt

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim challenges his critics to present in Parliament any proof that he ‘betrayed’ Islam, Malay rights and the Malay language.

(FMT) – Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has challenged critics of his administration to prove that the unity government is anti-Islam.

Anwar said the allocation for Islamic-related programmes and religious schools under his administration has been much higher than that of the previous government which had included Bersatu and PAS.

“How can they (critics of the unity government) say that we are anti-Islam?

“Give me an example of when I betrayed Islam as the prime minister,” he said in a speech in Negeri Sembilan.

Anwar challenged his critics to furnish proof in Parliament of the programmes and initiatives he has implemented that allegedly oppose Islam, Malay rights and the Malay language.

He said the fact of the matter was that the unity government had allocated increased funds to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), Yayasan Karyawan, and the Malaysian Institute of Translation and Books (ITBM) to elevate the status of the Malay language.

However, he said, there were certain quarters spreading “slander” that the government neglected the status of the Malay language.

Anwar also hit out at Dr Mahathir Mohamad for halting allocations to religious schools when he was prime minister in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In October 2002, Mahathir said the government decided to stop giving grants and financial aid to all religious schools as they had been misused to teach children politics instead of religion.

“I choose to be different. We will support all religious schools,” Anwar said.

He added that all the parties in the unity government, including DAP, respected Malay and Muslim rights.

Anwar said although it was within the opposition’s right to criticise and challenge the government over policies and initiatives, they should not resort to “slander”.

“They have forgotten how to use politics responsibly,” he said.