Earlier today at the Kedah MCA convention, the party president claimed that the competition between the two Malay-centric parties had led to some “non-progressive policies” which had caused the country to be caught in a middle income trap for more than 10 years.
PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said that PAS had always been a progressive party.
Instead he blamed what he said was Barisan Nasional’s (BN) corrupt governance for the non-progressive policies.
“PAS has always been practicing progressive Islam and this can be seen through our platform with Pakatan Rakyat. Pakatan Rakyat as a party shares common policies in upholding justice and combating corruption. PAS practices Islam that produces progressive leaders compared to Umno which still relies on racial sentiments to support their narrow principles.
The non-progressive policies is not because of Islam but due to Umno and Barisan Nasional’s corrupt governance,” he told The Malaysian insider.
The Kubang Kerian MP added that MCA was no better than Umno in using scare tactics.
“I think MCA realised that they can no longer rely on Umno’s racist politics. But MCA is also no better than Umno because they are using scare tactics. Their game plan can be easily seen because they are using racism and extremism to gain voters,” he said.
Dr Chua’s strong words appeared to suggest that MCA, the second largest party in the ruling Barisan Nasional, is no longer content to be a junior partner in the coalition.
The party recently came under criticism from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Umno deputy president, for apparently sharing DAP’s view that the “Allah” ban should be lifted.
MCA was forced to back down from its stand and its leaders were indirectly warned to back off after Muhyiddin announced the Cabinet’s directive to impose a gag order on all parties.
The Malaysian Insider understands that there is also a growing anger among MCA leaders over the recent prosecution of former party president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik over the Port Klang Free Zone scandal.
PAS Central Working Committee member, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, ridiculed Dr Chua and said that the party president no longer has the support of the Chinese community.
“Chua Soi Lek thinks he is a big mufti, in trying to come up with this edict. Islam is PAS’ raison d’etre, the reason for our struggle. Umno fights for Malay supremacy, using Islam when and where they like to win support.
“PAS is Islam, Umno is Malay nationalism. It doesn’t auger well for the MCA president to say this. He is not popular with the Chinese, so he’s hoping to boost his popularity with the remarks,” said the Kuala Selangor MP.
He added that Dr Chua must first understand the difference between PAS and Umno before making any statement.
“Now, he will only distance whatever little Umno support there is for him. His comments gives me the impression of a person who is somehow oblivious to his surroundings. Its like he does not understand the difference in dynamics between Umno and PAS,” he said.
Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad maintained that PAS has always been about Islam and that the religion should not be an issue.
“Obviously what we have doing has been is Islamic politics but Umno is only interested now because Islam has become more important and the people are beginning to see Islam as an alternative to their way of life. They are trying to present themselves as an Islamic party because they do not want their position to be jeopardized.
“However what Chua Soi Lek said is true for Umno in the sense that they are reacting to the situation and using Islam to meet their political end but Islam has always been the basis for PAS’s existence,” he said.
Khalid also rejected that allegation by Dr Chua that if PAS won federal power, it would not guarantee a corruption-free government, because some of the most corrupt countries in the world had a Muslim-majority.
“Islam is transparency, accountability and understanding the welfare of the nation so that it will benefit the public. So corruption has no place in Islam but we do understand why that some non-Muslims are sceptical over an Islamic government. I don’t blame Chua Soi Lek because he has always been under Umno and cannot tell the difference,” he said.