Following the government’s green light for PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to explain his ‘Amanat Haji Hadi’ (Haji Hadi's Message) over national TV, spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has demanded air time to talk about the party’s struggle.
Malay daily Sinar Harian quoted him as saying that he is ready to appear on TV any time.
“We as the believers in Prophet Muhammad should spread the truth to everyone in the world, whether Muslims or non-Muslims ... the government should give PAS a chance to explain (its stance) to the people,” he was quoted as saying in Kota Bharu yesterday.
Nik Abdul Aziz said he supports Abdul Hadi's willingness to explain the message delivered in 1981, but said this should be aired ‘live’.
Abdul Hadi, during a ceramah in Kuala Terengganu on April 7, 1981, had branded Umno as ‘infidel’. His message was widely circulated by PAS in the 1980s in the form of posters.
Recently, Umno leaders and the pro-Umno media had revisited the issue and demanded that Abdul Hadi retracts his remark it as it has split the Muslim community.
Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim had responded to Abdul Hadi's request, saying he could explain over the state-owned Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) if the content is suitable.
However, he also said Abdul Hadi must submit an application to RTM and that other religious experts would join the show.
The proposal has received mixed reactions from Umno leaders and Muslim scholars.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin(right) said Abdul Hadi’s explanation must be filtered before being broadcast, as it might further divide Muslims.
Umno supreme council member and Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, while praising the government for being open to the opposition, suggested that government representatives be allowed to participate in the show to prevent Abdul Hadi from openly attacking the government and BN.
His stance was shared by Perlis mufti Juanda Jaya, who supported the proposal but stressed that moderator and speakers for the show be carefully selected to ensure the issue is discussed in an open and balanced manner.
However two other of his colleagues - Johor mufti Mohd Tahrir Samsudin and Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria - were against the proposal, saying the show may become a platform for political agendas.