KOTA BHARU, Sept 20 : PAS Murshidul Am Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s statement that he was proud to be a Muslim but not a Malay has drawn reactions from the usual group of people, namely Perkasa and its mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia.
The Malay daily, known for its extensive coverage dedicated to the issue of Malay dominance, suggested that the Kelantan Menteri Besar had forsaken the fight for Malays.
"While there are efforts to eliminate special rights of Malays, Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said he was not proud of being a Malay," said the staunchly right-wing UMNO-owned Mingguan Malaysia, Utusan's weekend edition.
Its political cartoon column, Senyum Kambing, also took issue with Nik Aziz's statement.
For his part, Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali said he was not surprised with Nik Aziz’s statement, saying the latter had revealed his true identity as someone who used religion to attract non-Malay voters.
At a dialogue-cum-Hari Raya gathering with journalists recently, Nik Aziz said a Muslim's Islamic identity was more important than his race.
“I am not proud to be Malay. Race comes automatically and in Islam there is no longer (the issue of) race,” he was quoted as saying.
He said the Kelantan state government had spent RM7 million to build a mosque based on Chinese architecture in Rantau Panjang in its effort to rid the problem of racism in society.
Meanwhile, Nik Aziz’s press secretary Ahmad Fadhli Shaari chided Utusan’s failure to grasp "such simple statement".
“What Tuan Guru Nik Aziz is saying was I’m not proud to be Malay, but I am proud to be Muslim. All sane people know how to evaluate the statement. It seems that Mingguan Malaysia does not belong to the group,” he quipped.