Monday, April 29, 2013

GE13: Irate PAS leaders demand explanation from Johor DAP deputy chairman over call to reject Islamist party

With polling day just a week away, irate PAS leaders have asked Johor DAP deputy chairman Norman Fernandez to explain his statement urging voters to reject the Islamist party.

However, Fernandez has reiterated he would continue to express his personal views on sensitive issues such as hudud and public interest cases.

“This is a democracy and everyone is entitled to their opinion. If PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali and PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa can give their opinions, why not me?” he asked.

In an article written in the syed blog on Saturday, Fernandez said the DAP must realise that PAS was no longer an honest, viable partner of Pakatan Rakyat and must be courageous enough to admit it.

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Urging the people of Johor not to gamble and risk their future with the Islamist party, he said he had made up his mind and was convinced that PAS did not deserve his vote.

PAS Ulama Council chief Datuk Harun Taib described Fernandez's statement as “a step backwards” for Pakatan Rakyat.

“What he had said does not make any sense as PAS and DAP are Pakatan partners and we are united,” he said.

PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu described Fernandez's statement as an attempt to scare the Johor Chinese voters from supporting the party.

“Attempts to scare them (non-Muslims) won't work, because the wave of support towards Pakatan is strong,” said Mohamad, adding that any change in policies involving Islam which could affect non-Muslims would only be done through consultation if Pakatan wins power.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub dismissed Fernandez's statement, saying it was his personal opinion and did not reflect the stand of Johor DAP.

In a statement issued yesterday, Fernandez, a lawyer, said he did not have an agenda or had timed the release of his views.

The lawyer said he felt the need to express himself after PAS leaders started issuing all sorts of uncompromising statements on hudud.

Fernandez said he has always been expressing his views via his blogs.

“I respect everyone's views and comments but I will stand by mine as it is my own opinion and not the party's,” he added.

Asked about Johor DAP chairman Dr Boo Cheng Hau's remark that he should have called up the Archbishop, the Bishop or even the Pope in the Vatican City to get their opinion on the matter before making his statement, Fernandez said: “ I spoke to God.”

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