Perak Mufti Dato Seri Harussani Zakaria who has been seen by the Malays as an ‘UMNO Mufti’ has made some startling revelation about his association with the country’s top political leaders that runs contrary to what others thought and saw of him previously.
During a religious forum organized by Sinar Harapan earlier this week, he said that he cautioned then PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to be careful about accusing Anuar Ibrahim, then Deputy PM of sodomy without sufficient evidence. This case is history now and the court had overturned the charges of sodomy against Anuar Ibrahim only after Anuar Ibrahim had served eight years of prison term and upon Tun Dr. Mahathir’s resignation as PM. Harussani further revealed that Tun Dr. Mahathir had refused to heed his advise concerning Anuar Ibrahim and alleged that Tun’s staffs had restrained him from meeting Tun.
Harussani went further to say that he also advised PM Najib that his administration is weak, corrupt and is not trustworthy (tidak amanah); reasons that caused the Malays to be divided till this very day. These are serious allegations that can easily alienate the Malays, especially the rural Malays away from UMNO. Corruption and untrustworthy leaders are acts unacceptable to Islam that can influence the religiously bias rural Malays to disassociate themselves from such like leaders. And now having to be revealed by a mufti can be of serious consequence for the UMNO’s leadership.
The question now is how will the UMNO leadership react to these indefensible allegations and to remedy the badly dented image of the party from being alienated further. If UMNO remains in denial mode and think that Harussani words has little impact on the rural Malay support for the party, I dare say that UMNO will be in deep trouble. I can say with confidence that the urban Malay support for UMNO has long dwindled since the reformasi movement of 1998, and with PAS actively engaging both the urban and rural Malays, UMNO’s future seems bleak. I am beginning to see PAS being the alternative to UMNO, and definitely PAS young leaders today are no longer seen as religious bigots, but a voice of reason, moderate and corrupt free individuals that engage the people with reasonable ease. PAS today has even been accepted by the non Malays and this was clearly seen during the many by-elections, which hitherto was an outcast to the non Malays. The acceptance of PAS by DAP is a case in point.
I believe the Mufti’s can and should play an active role in the politics of the country, for I am told that there is no conflict or contradiction whatsoever between religion and politics. Muftis can no longer afford to sit back and be the ‘yes man’ to their governments. We have seen how governments silence their Muftis if they do not toe the line of the state leaders. How could a Mufti remain silent now if what they see happening in front of their eyes is unjust and in serious violation to the teachings of Islam? I know the Muftis are fully aware of the corruption that is going on, the lies and deceit that languishes, perpetrated by those in power. UMNO leaders cannot deny this for it is partly them that have caused the Muftis to speak out now; and appropriately so.
The willingness of the Muftis to speak out critically against the abuses by the powers that be hopefully will not be merely a charade. Rather, it is but the beginning of a serious effort by these religious groups to commit themselves directly and constructively in the politics and well being of the country, which I believe they can play an influential and positive role.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION