Home minister: Underlying message of PAS Youth’s war-themed parade clear for all to see

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — A PAS Youth event with paraders dressed as medieval fighters carrying replica swords and spears would obviously cause controversy in Malaysia’s heated political climate, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said today.

Dismissing the Islamist party’s attempts to deflect criticism of the parade in Terengganu last week, Saifuddin it was already clear Malaysia was still grappling with the use of race, religion, and royalty as political fodder during the 15th general election last year.

In the aftermath of the tightly-contested GE15, videos and posts alluding to Malaysia’s race riots of 1969 began circulating on social media — particularly TikTok — before authorities began cracking down.

All parties should consequently be extra cautious and responsible with their actions to avoid fanning the embers of racial and religious unrest, Saifuddin said when criticising the PAS Youth gathering.

“Consequently, any action that displays or expressions that include symbols of weaponry or militarism are highly in appropriate and will certainly cause public anxiety.

“The incident was further broadcast in a video clip with Arabic songs that were clearly war-themed playing in the background. This must beg the question of whether this parade was meant to infuse the spirit of war?” the minister said in a statement today.

Saifuddin then issued a general warning against the organisation of further events of this nature, before saying that stern action under the law would be taken against those who persist.

He said that while Malaysia was a democratic country that gave its citizens room to make their own choices and express their opinions, this must be done in the appropriate manner and without being intentionally provocative.

PAS Youth organised the Perhimpunan Pemuda Islam Terengganu (Himpit) gathering over two days on February 17 and 18 in Bari Indah Beach Resort in Setiu, which featured a parade in which attendees dressed as Arabic warriors brandishing replica swords, spears, bows, and shields.

Yesterday, PAS deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man engaged in whataboutism to deflect criticism over the event, likening the paraders to Chinese operatic performers.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar has already criticized the organisers of the parade in Terengganu for being callous with their choice of outfits and portrayal of Islam.

Terengganu police have said they would investigate the parade.