A tale of two tiers

pic by BERNAMA

IF THE prince down south is planning to take up the suggestions that he should join politics full time rather than take pot shots at politicians and sundry from the palace foxhole, he certainly has his work cut out for him.

Social media users are now taking pot shots at him after administrators of two mosques in Johor that he was scheduled to visit decided to erect special toilets for him.

This had prompted the social media users to taunt him that it should be alright for him to use common toilets in other outlets since the facilities at the mosques are not good enough.

It all sounds truly petty. Then again, that’s the price the prince would have to pay for as long as he chooses to straddle royal courts and the common grounds simultaneously.

While this is occurring at one end of Peninsular Malaysia, on the other end, in Terengganu, social media users are abuzz following a revelation on the existence of a “dedak cartel” involving several PAS leaders.

The revelation was made by Zaharudin Muhammad, the son-in-law of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who insisted that he had the blessings of the latter to make the matter public.

The issue, which rattled some personalities in PAS, took a new twist when Abdul Hadi decided to go on social media and issue a cryptic note of “no blessings”, obviously denying Zaharudin’s claims that he had received his father-in-law’s approval.

A gag order followed suit from the PAS central committee and Zaharudin has been referred to the disciplinary committee.

For the uninitiated, “dedak” is animal feed in English. In the Malaysian political lexicon, dedak is money dished out for political support, popularised before the 14th General Election by Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was then leading the Opposition force.

It was at a time when the then ruling party and PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak was said to be convinced that “Cash is King” which also led to the assumption that everyone had a price.

Zaharudin’s reference to the dedak cartel is obviously with regard to the accusations that several PAS leaders had received millions of ringgit from Umno before the general election and the monies were intended for PAS to play the spoiler role when Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) faced off against Pakatan Harapan.

The strategy backfired for Umno and BN. The party lost its control of the nation.

Except for Umno, its partners in the coalition were all almost wiped out.

PAS, however, benefitted from the three-cornered contest, retaining Kelantan and winning Terengganu. The latter’s victory of Terengganu is at the expense of Umno which was ruling the state prior to the election.

But the victory did not bring any end to the accusation that PAS leaders were receiving money or dedak from Umno.

In fact, PAS’ Abdul Hadi, who had sued Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown in an English court for defaming him over allegations of receiving RM90 million dedak from Umno, decided to withdraw the suit, sparking further speculations that there was truth to the allegations.

Somehow, Abdul Hadi and PAS seemed to manage to stay afloat, helped Umno win three by-elections and are taking the collaboration with Umno one step further — to officially tie the knot.

While some may find it baffling, given the long standing hostilities between the two, and that the rivalry was not confined to political differences, but based on religious principles, at least that was how PAS styled itself in giving sense to the schism.

Other parties were opposed due to differences of opinions, and as such, it would not be that difficult for them to find a convergent point at a later date as opinions and political posturing change with the ebb and flow of time.

However, religious principles are a different ball game altogether. Especially when Muslims believe that religious principles and tenets are perennial.

If there’s a change in the opinion regarding a religious interpretation that PAS has decreed in the past, it should explain or rescind if there is a change of stance.

Thus far, PAS has not rescinded its earlier decrees regarding Umno and its political pursuits and some of those decrees were in the extreme, including declaring Umno and its followers infidel.

In essence, the courtship between Umno and PAS since the run up to the last general election is due for a conclusion.

If Zaharudin’s dedak cartel revelation is of essence, then obviously, as pointed out by a once articulate and active blogger, it is akin to PAS having accepted the wang hantaran or dowry, and it is only natural that it consummate the ties. Otherwise, they would be living in sin.

On the religious decrees issued by PAS on its current spouse, the issue of double standards or hypocrisy shouldn’t be raised.

PAS has styled itself as the guardian of Islam in the nation. Therefore, its mannerisms in dispensing Islam is not to be questioned.

Neither should any believe there is a caste in any part of the discourse.

  • Shamsul Akmar is the editor at The Malaysian Reserve.