Is Hadi a moderate leader? Can his own credentials prove that?

MOST non-Muslims would be surprised when hearing University of Tasmania alumnus Dr Halimah Ali speaking in defence of PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang.

Speaking with a good command of English in an undated TikTok video, her English is apparently better than most other PAS leaders. The Kapar MP was apparently targeting non-Muslims when she claimed that both Hadi and PAS represent “moderate” Muslims in the country.

However, most Malaysians would be quick to jump into a different conclusion based on the Marang MP’s own credentials.

Acknowledging that the late PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat was well-respected by non-Muslims, Dr Halimah said when Abdul Hadi was the president back then, he did not impose his Muslim values on the non-Muslims even in Kelantan where non-Muslims re just a minority in the state.

That was apparently when the late Nik Aziz was around to ensure that PAS remained a moderate Islamist party. However, Dr Halimah’s defence of Abdul Hadi is not without flaws especially looking at the 76-year-old Islamist cleric’s past record.

A few past examples

For example, The Star reported that in 2009 that Hadi courted controversy when he attributed PAS’ defeat in the Batang Ai by-election to cawat (loincloth)-wearing Sarawakians who “didn’t know how to vote”.

These disparaging remarks came after the then Pakatan Rakyat (PR) candidate Jawah Gerang lost to Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Malcom Mussen Lamoh by a 1,854–vote majority in a straight fight.

Most Sarawakians still remember Hadi’s uncouth remarks that even 13 years later in 2022, Sarawakian politician and lawyer Baru Bian called PAS a party of “racist bigots”.


This ironically has nothing to do with Islamophobia but a justified “PASphobia” kind of rejection of the Islamist party’s version of Islam by most non-Muslims.

To say that Hadi has nothing to do with the “extreme” statements he is known to make from time to time is to pretend that the skunk sprays perfume instead of the piquant liquid that makes it one of the smelliest animals on earth.

Split in PAS

Malaysians will remember that PAS was split between the ulama and the more moderate faction comprising leaders like Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu (Mat Sabu), Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub and Khalid Samad, to name a few.

It was Nik Aziz who was able to hold the two factions together while it is obvious to this writer that Hadi represents the other face of PAS.

After these moderate PAS leaders left PAS and formed Amanah, we now have a more moderate Amanah led by Mat Sabu and a more “extremist” PAS under Abdul Hadi.

Amanah president Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu (Mat Sabu)

The meteoric rise of Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor to a point that a number of his speeches are now being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 can only happen under Hadi’s care.

Therefore, the difference of what PAS was in the past and what it is now cannot be denied. This is the result of the split in PAS after Nik Aziz is gone.

What people saw in PAS as a moderate Islamist party in the past was obviously due to the balancing act carried out by Nik Aziz and the efforts of people like Mat Sabu to keep the party from being dominated by the “extreme” elements in the party.

It is reported recently that PAS has finally recognised the importance of the non-Muslim votes to enable them to take over Putrajaya by legitimate means through the casting of votes. In order to achieve their own political objectives, the party is willing to dance to a different tune but most Malaysians are unlikely to buy Dr Halimah’s defence.

A more rewarding effort would be for PAS to clean out all the “extreme” elements within the party that seeks to impose its own views on other Muslims and non-Muslims.

To cite now retired DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang, “Hadi had for over a year failed to produce an iota of evidence to prove that the DAP and I were anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-royalty, communist and spreading Islamophobia”. – Nov 26, 2023

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