JOHOR BARU, Sept 3 — DAP’s central executive committee (CEC) member Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali has called on allies from Barisan Nasional (BN) to find common ground ahead of the by-elections in Johor.
He also said he hopes DAP’s “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan will not be used as an issue in campaigning, and argued that Malay voters do not need to feel threatened by the concept which he said is aligned with the principles of Rukunegara.
“The slogan refers to Malaysia for Malaysians and it should not be an issue, especially ahead of the Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state by-elections.
“We should avoid such polemics and find common ground between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) during this campaign period,” said Sheikh Umar told a press after a rally at Bukit Indah here last night.
Present at the event to support PH’s Pulai hopeful Suhaizan Kayat was DAP deputy secretary-general Liew Chin Tong, who is also the Johor DAP chief, PKR vice-president Maszlee Malik and Johor Umno’s Datuk Samsolbari Jamali, who is the Johor state legislative assembly Deputy Speaker.
Sheikh Umar, who is also the Johor DAP vice-chief, said he understands how Umno members, especially the grassroots, would require a clearer explanation since the political collaboration between PH and BN is still new.
On Umno supreme council member Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed who was the first to bring up the issue of amending DAP’s party constitution, Sheikh Umar said he believes the Pulai MP made the remarks due to his concerns about Umno’s grassroots.
“I believe that his intention was to reassure the Malay voters, especially Umno members, to support the PH candidate in Pulai,” said Sheikh Umar, referring to Nur Jazlan.
This comes as Johor Umno Leader Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said DAP must also do its part to help the national unity government gain the support of Malay voters by “dropping the agenda of secular state and the slogan of Malaysian Malaysia from its party constitution”.
Despite Nur Jazlan’s claim, Clause II in DAP’s party constitution only describes the Federal Constitution as a secular document and a “secular framework as the supreme law of the land”. Another article under the clause promoting national integration also called for the party to “infuse a national spirit and unity amongst all races to forge a common identity of a united Malaysian Malaysia”.
Yesterday, Zahid said the suggestion for DAP to amend its constitution was not his party’s position and was Nur Jazlan’s personal one.
Last month, Zahid also reiterated to Umno’s supporters that DAP has given its commitment that the party will always respect the religion of Islam as enshrined in the Constitution.