PAS has been lambasted for comparing the plight of the Malays over the land ownership in Penang with the sad and tragic plight of Palestinians in the Middle East.
There cannot be more inappropriate and unwarranted reference by comparing the Malays in Penang with the occupation of Palestinian territory by Israeli occupation forces.
Malays and even non-Malays could have lost their land in Penang due to rapidity of commercialisation and urbanisation. There is no forcible seizures of Malay land, something that PAS was alluding to.
When one talks of Malay land, it is not about individual private holdings but land under wakaf (endowments) agencies which are holding land in the interests of Malays and others.
But unfortunately, PAS never made an attempt to explain what is meant by Malay land ownership nor provide the latest statistics on land ownership and to what extent is there a steady erosion of land ownership.
Since politics continues to cloud the minds of PAS leaders, talking of the dwindling of land ownership of the Malays is just another political strike against the DAP, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition and the unity government.
It doesn’t matter to PAS that facts are subordinated to the larger narrow political interests – to win the election by any means.
Drawing the example of the Palestinians in comparing them with the Malays is an insult to the former. In the occupied Palestinian territories, the issue is not so much about land ownership but about lands under the total control and dispensation by the Israeli occupation forces.
In brief, under occupation, Palestinians don’t own the land but are squatters on the land that was bequeathed to them by the earlier generations. Hence, by saying that Palestinians don’t own land or their ownership has decreased is saying that they indeed own their land.
It didn’t occur to PAS that Palestine is an occupied territory under the total military control of the Israelis. It is pure and unadulterated nonsense on the part of PAS to even talk of land ownership of Palestinians.
Palestinians don’t own their lands as they have been forcibly occupied for years. As such, Palestinians are not fighting for land ownership but fighting of statehood – the need for a fully independent state of Palestine free from the control and imperialistic designs of the Israeli.
Unfortunately and regrettably, PAS leaders cannot even understand the fundamentals of the Palestinian struggle for emancipation. More so, its leader Tan Sri Hadi Awang was once Malaysia’s special envoy to the Middle East.
Ostensibly, he was named by the former government to highlight the struggle of the Palestinians among others, against the oppression by Israel.
I wonder what kind of information that he might have imparted to his colleagues in the party to the extent that there is terrible confusion in the ranks as to the real nature of the Palestinian struggle.
By claiming that deprivation of land for the Malays in Penang is the same as the fate of the Palestinians, PAS has ended up insulting and injuring their pristine struggle for freedom. I demand that PAS should apologise to the Palestinians for ridiculing their noble struggle for emancipation from the cruelty of the Israeli occupation forces.
By trivialising the struggle of the Palestinians, PAS has proven beyond doubt that it is just another political party that want to get more votes. Palestinian struggle for a nationhood has been sacrificed for cheap and mundane politics of PAS supposedly an Islamic party. – June 15, 2023
Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyman 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.