Hasan Ali, the state assemblyman for Gombak Setia who had high ambition of becoming the menteri besar (MB) of Selangor in 2008 is still hissing and slithering despite having lost his fangs and venom and being criticised hard by the public. He was booted out of PAS for party insubordination and is now lurching in political darkness – groping for a platform to promote his cause.
Since March 2008 Hasan has been undermining the leadership of the competent and incumbent MB of Selangor, Khalid Ibrahim, and demeaning the Pakatan Pact. His motive was clear then. He was aspiring for the post of Selangor MB. But his efforts failed to bear fruit. Of late, he has been in a political wilderness but has managed to stay afloat with the tacit support of UMNO and Perkasa.
He has lost friends from among his former party comrades. His frustration – despite his religious background – has made him stoop so low to the extent of character assassinating his assemblymen colleagues and even suggested the man who replaced him as PAS commissioner of PAS – a medical doctor – to go for psychiatric treatment. But his former supporters have the opinion that it is Hasan who is facing a psychological disorder. He can now be best described as having an impulsive and destructive mood – traits and symptoms of a maladjusted person in an inclusive environment.
Hasan is also described as having an expressed behaviour now that he is likely unable to keep his emotions to himself. Some have described him as a disturbed-personality as he is facing constant anxiety, unhappiness and an inferiority complex. He now looks physically and mentally tired.
Be it as it may, Hasan just cannot accept the fact that he has been expelled from PAS, is no more an Exco member and his dream of becoming the chief of Selangor has shattered. When Hasan was shown the door by PAS he was immediately hailed by Perkasa and UMNO politicians as a wira (hero) who fights for the Malays, Islam and the Royalty. The pro-government media inexorably became his saviour – highlighting his empty rhetoric to demean the Opposition and the Selangor State government. They are unable to picture that Hasan’s tomfooleries and empty slogans are stale issues to the people.
The Malays, Islam and the Royalty do not need Hasan to defend them. The country has a Constitution and the rights of the Malays and non-Malays are clearly enshrined therein. Islam is accepted as the official religion of the country and the non-Muslims have the freedom to practise their religion. The Constitution too stipulates the rightful position of the rulers. Hasan does not have to edify the people on this.
His new vehicle, a non-governmental organisation, JATI, is not making any impact on the nation. Its formation has not polarised Malay support for PAS. Ostracised by his supporters Hasan’s road shows are just gimmicks for him to escape from reality – a defence instrument for his present low esteem. Neither is his personal opinion that the Malays are becoming apostates making the Malays go berserk and go after the Christians. His sponsored trips to some parts of the nations have not drawn the anticipated crowds. The small crowds gathered to attend his ceramah were mostly UMNO members out of mere curiosity. Not all UMNO members though subscribe to his slanted and unempirical views on apostasy. To the majority of the Malays Hasan’s rhetoric on apostasy is much ado about nothing. It’s a mere political stunt emanating from the heart of a despondent politician.
UMNO and Perkasa are apparently excited in backing Hasan to demean the Opposition. They fail to realise that indirectly Hasan is making UMNO the target of his criticism and not the Opposition. Indulging in the apostasy issue is akin to thwarting UMNO, as UMNO claims to have the most number of Malay memberships and it is UMNO-led Barisan Nasional that is governing the country now. The onus for now is thus on UMNO to safeguard the religiosity of the Malays, the sanctity of Islam and the position of the Royalty.
But UMNO itself is not sincere and is more seen as a political party that makes use of these entities only for their political expediency. To the ordinary Malaysians, none of these entities mentioned by Hasan is under any threat. Their perception is that Hasan is exploiting these issues for his own political mileage and for this same reason UMNO finds it expedient to become a free passenger on this foundered mission.
Christians cannot be a threat
Since the course by Hasan has backfired, the roadshow has created another huge dent on UMNO. This is despite the spin and lies by pro-UMNO media to make people believe that Hasan is the knight in shining armour out to defend Islam, the Malays and the Royalty. The media is giving the false impression that these entities are now threatened with the advent of a two-party system in the country. Can a 9.2 per cent Christians be a threat to the majority Malay-Muslims in the country? This is a poor non-empirical judgement on their part and the ordinary people are not that naïve to fall into Hasan’s or UMNO’s trap. UMNO’s popularity among the Malays is sliding and it needs to grasp to any available straw to keep it afloat – the latest recruit being the ostracised Hasan.
Hasan’s focus on the Malay world does not go beyond Islam and apostasy. His ploy is well understood by the people. He knows that when he plays racial and religious issues he will be able to convince the rural voters into hating the non-Malays. UMNO has a stake in this too. But the rural voters are not impressed with Hasan at all as he is not addressing this matter of religion and apostasy to UMNO but PAS or Pakatan. The people are aware that under the Opposition pact PAS heads only two states – Kedah and Kelantan, PKR one state – Selangor and DAP one state – Penang. It is UMNO-led Barisan Nasional that handles the rest of the states.
For this reason, if apostasy is really an issue that is affecting the nation then Hasan must air his grievances to Najib Razak who is the prime minister where there is a ministry on Islamic affairs under him supervised by a minister. Why blame PAS or the Opposition states that have relatively limited power on matters of Islam – even when matters on Islam are under the jurisdiction of the state? Obviously, Hasan is barking at the wrong tree. His action only implies that he is a dejected politician who could not achieve what he wanted in politics and is all out to become a rabble-rouser.
If Hasan is playing politics to make a comeback as the champion of the Malays, Islam and the Royalty in Selangor, perhaps, he may want to stand under an UMNO ticket in the next general election in Gombak Setia and try his luck to fulfil his ambition to become the MB of Selangor with UMNO’s blessings. Since UMNO and Perkasa are strongly backing him to demean the Opposition now, there should not be any problem for them to back Hasan as the future UMNO MB of Selangor if UMNO could repossess the state from Pakatan.
Urge for spending
Hasan is not a nifty politician neither is he a smart intellectual. He has failed as a politician and he can be forgiven for that as he was not educated to become a politician in the first place. His instinct and high leadership ambition perhaps drew him into politics. He was a man in a hurry. He is never a shrewd politician. He fumbled in many ways while holding the post of Exco hurting the members of the coalition he was in. Despite being highly qualified academically he does not know the right trade in politics. Many less educated politicians have made it in politics just because of their good political acumen, but not Hasan.
Hasan, the former Pas Commissioner in Selangor, has an extraordinary urge for spending. It is understood that by spending RM329 000 renovating his Exco office he wanted to impress the people how great an MB he could be. This is sheer lavishness. Hasan should instead preach to himself and UMNO that lavishness in life is totally unIslamic. Beyond that, preach to UMNO that eradicating poverty, reining in corruption and bringing social justice to all – Muslims and non-Muslims – are the intrinsic teachings of Islam. With these spiny elements removed from UMNO’s system the issue of Muslims leaving the faith will not arise.
Hasan must be aware that the only religion that is heavily promoted by UMNO-controlled media – the radio and television – is Islam. There is wide media coverage on Islam by UMNO. The Christians have no avenue to propagate their religion via these media. If Hasan can claim that Muslims had left Islam in droves to become Christians, the people would feel real weird that such a phenomenon could happen when the government completely controls the broadcast media. Furthermore, how could the Malays lose their faith in Islam then when Christians form only 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population? Are the Muslims too weak to resist conversion?
No empirical evidence
Hasan’s highly-anticipated video on conversion has no empirical evidence of mass conversion of Muslims in the country. The two to three sample variables (people) before the camera, claiming to have been victims of conversion are not reliable enough for a scientific analysis to Hasan’s hypothesis. It does not represent the major corpus – that conversion is rampant in the country. In other words, Hasan has badly failed in his thesis. He is in fact more into “story telling”.
Void of any empirical evidence Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria puts the number of apostates at 260,000. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah puts it at about 135 cases. And Hasan could not come up with any absolute number. Unfortunately, the country has Islamic “scholars” who do not know what scientific and empirical studies are all about. They seem to act and react based on their baser instincts – their selfish motives and emotions.
But the straw that broke the camel’s (read as Hasan’s) back was his hypothesis on the issue of apostasy among Malay-Muslims. Hasan holds a PhD, probably in a field related to Islam. He should know what empirical study or approach is in doing any scientific research. A PhD thesis is submitted to be endorsed after it has been written with proper research done on an issue. Research techniques are fundamental in thesis writing. If the thesis lacks proper research method to it and lacks empirical evidence it will be rejected. Without these crucial elements a thesis becomes a “story telling” corpus.
In a 16-minute brief video of testimonials by three Malays who claim to have been “converted” and now reverted to Islam does not represent the majority Muslim population in the country. This is not real evidence of proselytisation that warrants probes and questioning. This thus has earned Hasan the ire of Christians and Muslims alike.
Those emotive statements by Hasan are not going to polarise people’s opinions and in any way contribute to Malays distrusting the Christians. The Malays are scoffing at these so-called scholars and their political gimmicks. The Malays are well aware that there is no threat of Christianisation in the country. They are not going to become panic-stricken just because one rebel and a few UMNO members are using this ploy to scare the Malays. Hypothetically, if UMNO could sanction a seminar on the threat of Christianisation hurting the feelings of peace-loving minorities, how would the majority Malays react to a seminar on the threat of Islam on the non-Muslims? Common sense should prevail.
UMNO does not promote moderation
PAS sees in Hasan as a fear mongering politician that has now become a liability to UMNO. Hasan is just fulfilling UMNO’s scare tactics and to politically cast doubts on PAS’ credibility. The plot by UMNO here is obvious: “Muslims are becoming apostates and PAS does not take it seriously since it is allied to DAP”. But is UMNO on its part sincere when it comes to the many other more serious issues facing the Malay-Muslims in the country?
Corruption, poverty, drug addiction, high divorce rate, single mothers, child maintenance and neglects, poor education are some among the many menaces facing the Muslim community which UMNO has long neglected. The educated Malays are no more in slumber. They are rejecting UMNO in droves because of these reasons and not because of apostasy or any Christian threats to their community.
UMNO does not promote temperance in the country. Race and religions are weapons used by UMNO to scare the Malays into voting them into power. But if Hasan views that hedonism makes Muslims easy preys for Christians then blame UMNO that has been in power for almost six decades. Hedonism – the desire for net pleasure – is not the teaching of any religion nor is it a lifestyle endorsed by PAS or the Christians.
If Hasan can accuse Christians of proselytising Muslims with their large funds and they could easily lure poor Muslims because of materialistic needs, what has Hasan or UMNO done to help the poor Muslims to refrain them from getting help from other communities? The poor Muslims throughout the world when hit with poverty, starvation or natural calamities accept aid from any country for that matter – including the Christian world. But have we seen the Acehnese, Pakistanis and Arabs converting to Christianity in droves just because they were helped by the Christians in the past?
When Hasan and UMNO politicians consider Christianity a threat to the Muslims to stir emotions and win Malay votes, PAS does not politicise this issue. This only shows the high-mindedness and magnanimity of PAS politicians and members in the country as opposed to UMNO’s stance.
Hasan and UMNO’s trick will not split Muslim views on PAS or the Christians. They have been edified enough by those who are more rational in thoughts and actions to be tolerant. The Malays are educated enough not to be duped by political bigots. It is now time for the voters to see Hasan as what he is — a politician in need of a stage to display his antics and perhaps impress UMNO into accepting him into its fold. UMNO may want to consider him as their potential candidate for the MB’s post to compete with Khalid Ibrahim, the incumbent and popular MB of Selangor. Story goes that UMNO has no potential candidate as MB in Selangor at the moment. Hasan may want to try his luck.
Malaysians must salute PAS because they could have kept Hasan on for their political expediency but decided to do the right thing by sacking him for being too ambitious, a rebel and a thorn in the flesh.- Malaysia Chronicle