He warned his UMNO counterpart not to hide behind the mask of Malay unity to stir up trouble for the Malays, who form the bulk of membership in both their parties.
“UMNO as a Malay-bumiputera majority party was entrusted with leadership but the wealth of the nation has been turned into the private property of its leaders, while the ordinary people struggle to make ends meet," Hadi said in a stinging speech at the 57th PAS Muktamar on Friday.
“Umno has created a flock of Malays and Muslims who are blind and deaf to money politics, with entertainment and media used to turn Malays and Muslims stupid."
Right smack in the face
The strength of his words left no room for doubt and only humiliation for UMNO, whose leaders in the past fortnight have tried to annoy their PAS counterparts with leery taunts and skewed reasoning to defect to BN, and dump Pakatan Rakyat partners - DAP and PKR.
But despite the carrots dangled by Najib and regardless the magnificence of the bribes on offer, Hadi reiterated that PAS would remain in Pakatan,
“There is a difference between PAS' cooperation in Pakatan Rakyat, with cooperation with UMNO in BN, which sacrifices Islamic principles,” he explained. “Politics needs to be cleaned up but this cannot be done by UMNO-BN who have sullied it with their own hands."
There has been red-hot speculation that Najib had offered PAS 3 Cabinet positions and 5 Mentri Besar posts. Concern and worry had cloaked the PAS community as the rumors gathered strength, while UMNO leaders swaggered and boasted of an impending "coup" during the 65th UMNO meeting held a fortnight ago.
Hadi also lambasted UMNO, the dominant BN partner, for "disgusting acts like corruption, money politics, slander, racism, lies and all manner of things which embarrass even our children who are watching us”.
It was clear he was referring to the gutter politicking that top UMNO leaders had directed against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim. Despite flimsy evidence and public outrage, the BN government has insisted on pushing through a sodomy trial against the 64-year old Anwar.
Recently, it also launched a sex video conspiracy to further discredit him. The PAS ulama will be debating this issue and its effect on the Malay community and youth later on at the assembly.
Malay Unity Government or narrow communalism
Meanwhile, Hadi continued to slam the merger offered by UMNO, warning that it would lead to “narrow communalism”. Islam acknowledges the existence of racially plural societies, he said.
He was addressing the concerns of the non-Muslims, who fear that an UMNO-PAS marriage would sideline the minorities in the country even further. Many pundits have also slammed the UMNO proposal for a Malay Unity Government rather than a National Unity Government.
Malays form some 60 per cent of the 28 million population and theoretically, should PAS and UMNO join forces, they could rule the country and override the rights of the Chinese, Indian and other minority races in the country.
PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat has thrown back the gauntlet to UMNO, saying PAS would join BN provided PKR and DAP could tag along. So far, Najib has rejected the idea.
“We need to realise that a plural or majmuk society is part of Islam's political message. It is compulsory for us to spread the message of no compulsion in religion, and that Islam is fair for all so that non-Muslims can see how Islam should be practiced, and Islam's image which has been tainted by Umno's antics can be redeemed,” said Hadi.
GE-13, hottest bets still July and end-August
The manner in which the UMNO-controlled media reported Hadi's eye-opening speech this morning was telling. None dared to carry Hadi's definitive 'No' to UMNO nor the scolding the Islamic leader gave to Najib and the UMNO elite for their questionable behavior.
Instead, the mainstream media rushed to focus on Hadi's call to Pakatan and PAS to prepare for snap general elections, and to also place greater attention on the people's welfare.
Pundits are now watching to see how Najib will react to the speech in terms of the timing for the 13th GE. They said if Hadi had sounded conciliating, chances are the PM would delay snap polls till later this year or even next.
But now that the PAS rejection has been clearly delivered, it looks like July and end-August are still the hottes bets.
"There is no room for hope for UMNO and Najib will have to bite the bullet or risk losing further support from the Malay community if he delays. There will be no help from PAS especially when the price hikes really start to be felt and the Malays suffer the most, especially the rural ones," Rafizi Ramli, PKR director of strategy told Malaysia Chronicle.
- Malaysia Chronicle
Written by Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle
Umno watches closely PAS assembly and polls for clues on its own future