By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that the DAP’s Karpal Singh is the actual winner in last weekend’s PAS elections because he claimed the party had abandoned its Islamic principles.
Dr Mahathir added that PAS’s new push for a welfare state was proof that the Islamist party had abandoned its fight for an Islamic state.
The former prime minister accused PAS of forsaking its struggle to implement Islamic and hudud laws just to appease its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition partner DAP.
“The person who won big did not attend the muktamar and is not even a PAS member. That person is Karpal Singh... his fight against PAS’s plans to build an Islamic state which would have enforced hudud law has been achieved,” he wrote in a blog posting today.
“PAS no longer has to cross over Karpal’s dead body, nor does Karpal have to die... He is not even dead and PAS has made its struggle for an Islamic state a matter of secondary importance, now that PAS will be fighting for a welfare state instead,” said Dr Mahathir (picture), in reference to Karpal’s famous line “Over my dead body”. The DAP chairman has been firmly opposed towards PAS’s Islamic state concept, and has maintained that it went against the Federal Constitution and that Malaysia is a secular state, with Islam as the official religion.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang recently declared the party will not work with Umno in a unity government as the ruling party was ruled by self-interest, saying that PAS would work towards a welfare state that is fair to all if it took power. His policy speech signalled a change in direction that gave an advantage to professionals seeking places in the party’s central working committee.
During the weekend’s PAS polls, the party’s conservatives in the ulama faction, who prefer to link up with Umno, were edged out in the contest for top leadership posts by a group of progressive leaders led by the new deputy president Mohamad Sabu.
The vice-presidential line-up of Salahuddin Ayub, Datuk Husam Musa and Datuk Mahfuz Omar was also from the professionals or Erdogan camp, who favour co-operation with PR allies rather than seek unity with Umno.
Analysts said the 1,100 PAS delegates had decided to throw out pro-unity elements in the party as they were confident of doing well in the next general election without linking up with Umno. Leaders of Umno have criticised the party for apparently abandoning its Islamic state policy in favour of political expediency to capture Putrajaya.
But Hadi has also said the welfare state that the Islamist party plans to create is in principle similar to an Islamic state, turning away from mainstream view that such a label meant heavy punishment including cutting limbs for theft and stoning for adultery.
The PAS president explained that Islamic state is just another label but what is important is the implementation. He has denied that the party has abandoned its aspiration for an Islamic state but stressed that the party must move on ground that is common among the different partners in PR.
In response, Dr Mahathir pointed out that debates and discussions needed to be held on PAS’s change in policy direction, saying that the matter should not be dropped or ignored.
“Why (has this been ignored?) It is because (PAS) wants to legitimise its co-operation with DAP, especially Karpal. More accurately it is because PAS can no longer argue with Karpal Singh.
“Congratulations and well done Karpal, at last you have succeeded in your fight against PAS’s Islamic state,” the veteran Umno politician said.