PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang purports to be not just an authority on Islam but an expert on distinguishing the difference between charity and corruption.For PAS, what constitutes corruption is deemed to be charity. In short, giving funds to influence the outcome of elections is charity to PAS. If this is done by others, then it is corruption. Distribution of funds to party cadres and possibly supporters during the recent elections were defended by Hadi as welfare gifts to the poor and needy.
There is a vast difference between gifts to the poor and the needy and funds to elicit votes. Charity is an inescapable part of most all political parties, whether religious or not.
PAS cannot claim that it merely engaged in handing out charity, either in the form of cash or gifts. What PAS did before the recent general elections was unjustified. Its leaders handed out funds to their cadres and supporters in the name of charity to influence the outcome of the elections.There is a clear difference between what is given as charity and what was given as election funds. What was done by PAS was to mask the latter under the cloak of the former. The PAS leadership wants the general public to believe that the party did nothing wrong in dishing out funds to its possible supporters. This act is nothing less than an act of blatant corruption. Hadi might say what he wants, but the point is that the PAS leaders, being politicians, might have distributed funds to determine the outcome of elections. If this were the case, Hadi or others could not hide behind religion to escape the law against corruption. Hadi might defend the dishing out of money as charitable gifts, but others have emerged to accuse him of indulging in corruption.
The law must take its course against PAS leaders for their indulgence in corruption. Let the court determine whether PAS leaders including Hadi are guilty of corruption or not, or of indulgence in corruption masquerading as charity.The giving of “charity” clearly establishes the notion that the material world is as important to PAS as the eternal world. But unfortunately, while PAS can extol the virtues of the other world, it also realises the importance of the material world. Contrary to the notion that it is a religious party, PAS for all intents and purposes, a political party, like other political parties in the country. Its religious label doesn’t give it an elevated status but serves more to entice support than anything else. However, the religious rhetoric doesn’t seal or protect the party and its leaders from mundane practises such as corruption and other forms of wrongdoing. Giving money to influence the outcome of elections is not an act of divine charity. They are blatant acts of corruption. — Jan 24, 2023
Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also deputy chief minister II of Penang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main photo credit: Bernama