DAP, Amanah: Twin Johor victories show voters’ rejection of PN’s political exploitation of religion

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 —The double victory of Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidates for the unity government in yesterday’s by-elections for Pulai and Simpang Jeram in Johor shows that voters reject federal opposition Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) exploiting of religion for political purposes, two PH leaders have said.

Johor DAP vice chairman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali, who is also DAP central executive committee (CEC) member, said the electoral victories in the two Johor seats “give the signal that Johor’s people do not accept politics that excessively uses religion.”

“I give the warning, politics using religion as a tool is something that is very irresponsible. It will only blemish (mencalarkan) the sanctity of Islam. More dangerously, it can plant the seeds of extremism that would cause our unity to collapse,” he said in a statement today.

Sheikh Umar urged PN to refocus and to be a constructive opposition coalition, and to play a role in helping the government restore the economy and to propose good policies, and to stop “manipulating religion for political interests” which he said will only cause losses to both the country and citizens.

Referring to PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who had previously given the religious opinion that it was “haram” or forbidden religiously for Pulai residents to vote for PH’s Suhaizan Kayat in the parliamentary seat, with Sheikh Umar then seemingly sarcastically asking if PN would now consider voters there as having sinned and having to repent.

Instead, Sheikh Umar reminded PN that elections are a normal democratic process practised in Malaysia, and that this was enshrined in the Federal Constitution and is in line with the spirit of the term “masdaqal ijtima’iyyah” or the people’s mandate.

Both Suhaizan who won the Pulai parliamentary seat with a 18,641-vote majority and Nazri Abdul Rahman who won the Simpang Jeram state seat with a 3,514-vote majority are from PH component party Parti Amanah Negara. DAP is also a component party of PH.

Separately, Amanah vice-chairman Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa congratulated PH and its ally Barisan Nasional (BN) whom he said had worked hard in ensuring the twin victories yesterday of the candidates from the unity government.

He said PH’s and BN’s cooperation in Johor has now found its pace and hoped it would become a model to be improved nationwide to face the next general elections.

Mujahid, who is also Perak PH chairman, said the claims that the unity government would fall in August were just evil whispers wishing to see the fall of unity and stability, and questioned if PN’s focus was focused on just toppling the government or if it wished to build the nation.

“The victory of Unity candidates is symbolic to the rejection of toxic racial politics and exploitation of religion which was sung by PAS/PN,” he said in a statement today.

Mujahid said Pulai and Simpang Jeram voters have rejected the attempts to use slander to cause disharmony among citizens and among Muslims,and said this should be celebrated by all who love unity and who hate those who spread slander.