March 14, 2015
Ulama Faction is a problem for PAS and boon to UMNO
by Koh Jun Lin@www.malaysiakini.com
The ulama faction in PAS is a problem to the party because many from its ranks keep falling for the ‘hudud trap’ set by UMNO, PAS central committee member Mohamed Hanipa Maidin says.
The issue has become UMNO’s most potent weapon, Hanipa said, to break up the Pakatan Rakyat coalition so as to ensure UMNO’s own survival at a time when its allies MIC and MCA are weak.
“Why? Because when UMNO lobs the hudud issue, PAS people forget about everything else. They forget about the Internal Security Act, they forget about the Sedition Act and they forget about 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
“They forget everything. Everything is about hudud. They have done it before and are doing it again, talking about the same things. This the problem, and most ustaz (religious teachers) are like that.
“Sorry ustaz. But the ustaz are really a problem in PAS,” Hanipa (above) told a forum organised by Malaysiakini at its premises last night.
The forum, held a month after the passing of PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, was themed “Where is PAS heading, without Nik Aziz?” The Sepang MP told the forum that many young religious scholars returning from the Middle East score top marks in reciting the Quran and hadith from memory, but utterly fail when dealing with real world issues or with analytical thinking.
“If you ask them to explain the 1MDB issue, they might even ask you what is 1MDB… for me, this is the reality in PAS,” he quipped.
Uptick in violence in PAS
Hanipa said this when asked to explain an uptick in the use of violence in PAS, which included an incident where PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad was assaulted, and another incident in which Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli’s car was torched.
Both victims are linked to the faction of professionals in PAS, which is seen to be in loggerheads with the religious scholars and their supporters in the party.
Hanipa said part of the problem is that the scholars are seeking a “utopian and purist” version of Islam, which sees diversity as a threat, even though Islam thrives in diversity.
In contrast, he said Nik Aziz was a religious scholar who understood contemporary issues and sought to make the party more inclusive, and the late spiritual leader even gave much encouragement to the professionals in the party.
Hanipa said he understood that Islam cannot be advanced through its scholars alone. Among others, he cited Nik Aziz’s invitations to non-Muslims to attend Islamic functions and his speech at the Bar Council on human rights as examples of his outreach efforts.
“Unfortunately since Tok Guru (Nik Aziz) is no longer here, and even when he became less active in politics due to his poor health, the phenomena that the moderator spoke of began to spread,” Hanipa added.