Why must politicians couch their campaigning in quasi-religious language?

POLICE have confirmed that two reports were lodged against Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin over remarks made during recent campaigning for the upcoming by-elections for the Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state seats in Johor.

The police reports allege that Muhyiddin had issued a fatwa during a ceramah stating that voters were forbidden to vote for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate – Suhaizan Kayat.

Bukit Aman CID chief Datuk Seri Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said the police classified crimes unit will record the Bersatu president’s statement on Sept 11 at the latter’s office in Kuala Lumpur.

He also confirmed that investigations into PAS supremo Tan Sri Hadi Awang’s statements questioning the Pardon Board’s powers have also been completed.

According to MalaysiaKini, the investigation papers will be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) soon for further action.

In a speech made on Aug 26, Hadi allegedly claimed that the process of granting pardons in Malaysia goes against Islamic teachings given that it is the family of victims who possesses the right to pardon instead of the Pardon’s Board.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told reporters on Monday (Sept 4) that the police will propose that Hadi be charged under Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Pulai Amanah Youth chief Mohd Harith Hambali lodging police report


Religious mischief

As campaigning for the aforementioned Johor by-elections reaches fever pitch, FocusM is curious as to why politicians insist on couching their already inflammatory rhetoric in quasi-religious language. Is Muyhiddin even authorised to issue such religious edicts?

As FocusM understands it, fatwa issuance functions in Malaysia are basically a state matter and are regulated under state enactments – usually titled Administration of Islamic Law Enactments – in the various states of Malaysia which authorise the state mufti and the sultan to issue and ratify the fatwa.

It is dangerous ground for politicians to try to cloak their political pronouncements with the sanctity of religious edicts to gain some sort of credibility when they have no capacity to do so.

This is what prompted Pulai Amanah Youth chief Mohd Harith Hambali to lodge a police report against Muhyiddin.

“It is a radical speech and something which should not have happened in Pulai,” he contended. “What was said is also something that can mislead voters.”

FocusM firmly believes strong laws and enforcement are needed to curb this practice. It is not only misleading but also an extremely unhealthy trend when things such as character assassinations can be carried out while supposedly given credence with the wrongful use of religious terminology.

This is an abhorrent practice that must be stopped for the sake of both democracy and religion in this country. – Sept 6, 2023


Main photo credit: Malaysiakini

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