KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 ― PAS will protect all Malaysians from any racial confrontation that may happen after the May 5 polls, Datuk Mahfuz Omar pledged even as he lashed out at its instigator, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.The vice-president of the Islamist opposition party accused Dr Mahathir of being an author of racial strife bent on selling the politics of fear through the former prime minister’s blog.
“It’s no secret that Dr Mahathir is very afraid to face the general election this time, in fact he has been reported saying he was more worried about his grandchildren’s safety compared to his own if Pakatan Rakyat wins,” Mahfuz was quoted saying today by PAS news portal, Harakah.
“His writing clearly is a desperate attempt by Dr Mahathir to spread his fear to the rakyat and an invitation to share in his personal fears,” he added, referring to the veteran Umno politician’s latest blog posting two days ago, titled “Gelang Patah”.
In it, Dr Mahathir warned Malaysians that a “racial confrontation” was imminent if the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang were to win the Gelang Patah federal seat in Johor, the birthplace of Umno at the 13th general election.
Seemingly rushing to defend Lim, his political ally in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact, Mahfuz was reported holding up Dr Mahathir’s statement as further evidence that the ex-prime minister was fearful to face the people’s anger towards Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition it fronts in the May 5 polls.
He said PAS had not only worked to prevent racial strife, which he claimed to be stoked by Umno via Dr Mahathir’s blog entry, but was committed to ensure the safety of all races.
“But we give our commitment to protect and care for the safety of all Malaysians, regardless if Malay, Chinese or Indians if a racial confrontation happens as Dr Mahathir aspires in his blog,” the Johor PAS chief was quoted saying.
Mahfuz reportedly said his promise was not mere rhetoric as the PAS government in Kelantan had done so on May 13, 1969 when racial riots swept the rest of the country.
“As soon as an attempt was made to spread unrest from Kuala Lumpur to Kelantan, the Kelantan mentri besar at that time, Tan Sri Asri Muda, had immediately gathered the heads of society in the mentri besar’s official residence in JKR 10.
“He gave a warning, if there were incidents where the Chinese were ill-treated anywhere in Kelantan, he would hold the headman there accountable,” he was quoted saying.
According to Mahfuz, Asri had also guaranteed the Chinese representative, Chua Say Paw, who was present in that gathering that nothing untoward would befall the community in the state.
Some 13.3 million Malaysians are registered to vote in Election 2013, touted as the closest contest for power in Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy between the BN coalition that has governed uninterrupted for five decades and the strongest opposition pact that has emerged in years.