THE Association for Community and Dialogue is concerned over press reports of the statement by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang that one million members of Islamist party will not allow fugitive preacher Dr Zakir Naik to be deported. He added that Muslim brotherhood comes before citizenship and transcends national borders.
This statement is clearly against Malaysia’s national sovereignty because the PAS leader and his followers are colluding with a foreign individual against their fellow citizens. Such behaviour is similar to treacherous individual elements in other countries inviting foreign elements to interfere in the internal affairs of a given country. Is this a prelude to other extremist preachers coming to this country and threatening its national existence? Zakir has basically interfered in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.
Malaysia’s strength today is its diversity that was framed during independence and the wisdom of former prime ministers who created a balancing act by accommodating various ethnic groups in governance making it a unique Muslim-majority country to this day. The strength of Malaysia’s independence and sovereignty is deeply imbued in a broader perspective of solidarity of multi-ethnic and religious society. It is not about Malay-Muslim dominance that is projected by PAS that seems to view its non-Muslims citizens as secondary. The backward thinking of PAS leaders disqualifies them from being part of national governance since they are easily accommodative to extremist foreign elements related to religion. Furthermore, the basis of PAS electoral contest is merely about reinforcing Malay-Muslim dominance and this goes against solidarity, common good and national sovereignty of Malaysia.
Therefore, it isvital for multi-ethnic and religious Malaysia to reject PAS ideology that threatens national sovereignty. The attitude of PAS leaders would invite foreign imperialist powers to take advantage of our current divisive politics for their geo-political games. This can be seen in Syria where domestic and external Islamist extremist movements colluded with countries like Saudi Arabia in collaboration with hegemonic powers like the United States to weaken the secular government of Bashar al-Assad. Hadi’s ideology of religious exclusivity could invite such elements into this country. Is Hadi weakening our national sovereignty?
* Ronald Benjamin is Association for Community and Dialogue secretary.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.