COMMENT NASHARUDDIN Mat Isa is probably an unknown name in Sarawak. I doubt many people in the state know who he is, particularly now that he is no longer a PAS heavyweight but a party renegade.
has carved a name for himself in political and religious circles in the
peninsula. He is the former deputy president of PAS and the serving
By all accounts, Nasharuddin had a meteoric rise in
PAS. He was said to be the prodigy of the late Fadzil Mohd Nor who was
PAS president from 1989 until his death in 2002.
was a known moderate in an Islamic party and he went on an ambitious
drive to promote young professionals in the party. Nasharuddin (left) was one of them.
Abdul Hadi Awang took over as PAS president in 2002, Nasharuddin's star
continued to shine as the new boss also found him to be a capable and
Nasharuddin was soon appointed secretary-general of PAS and by 2005, he was elected deputy president.
Nasharuddin's political career took a nosedive following the resurgence
of Pakatan Rakyat after the 2008 general election.
He was said
to be one of the few PAS leaders keen on unity talks with Umno.
Naturally, this did not endear him to the wider spectrum of the
opposition alliance and the Pakatan die-hards in PAS.
wouldn't be focusing on an ‘irrelevant' personality like Nasharuddin Mat
Isa here if he has not made a preposterous statement about Sarawak
politics this week.
Like many Sarawakians, I am very disappointed
that an Islamic scholar of his stature would stir up what could turn
out to be another ugly bout of religious animosity between Christians
and Muslims in the country.
Lies bedfellow of politics
Tuesday, Nasharuddin Mat Isa alleged that a group had prayed for the
establishment of a Christian nation during a thanksgiving event after
the Sarawak election last year.
"I want to say, to encourage
(fellow Muslims) to unite, face the strategy that is being planned by
Allah's enemies, particularly in Malaysia.
"After the election, to celebrate their victory, for example DAP, held a thanksgiving event.
"During this event, among the things that was mentioned and prayed for was for Malaysia to be a Christian state.
they have won big, so they prayed for Malaysia to be a Christian state.
Some denials were made and there was also support. The reality is, a
lot of them won," he was quoted as saying.
Nasharuddin said this
in his working paper that was read out during a National Islamic
Missionary Movement Seminar at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala
These are strong allegations indeed! Those who were
offended immediately slammed Nasharuddin, describing his remarks as
‘gutter politics', rubbish and lies.
One reader, writing in a news portal, called the PAS ulamak a fanatic and a menace to peace and harmony in the country.
a Christian in Sarawak and somewhat affected and targeted by
Nasharuddin's hurtful outcry, I also have some concerns and would like
to pose a few questions.
Is Nasharuddin that influential and
powerful to start another round of heated discourse among Muslims and
Christians in the country?
I don't think so but I am concerned that he was given such a prominent platform to make those uncalled for allegations.
Apart from being an ordinary MP, Nasharuddin is actually a nobody now in PAS or Pakatan Rakyat.
this be the reason why he suddenly became so controversial? You know,
politicians are adept at making used of controversies to get noticed
I think it is Nasharuddin the politician and not the Islamic cleric who came up with the sweeping statements early this week.
A wise, knowledgeable religious scholar would not be using such crude and cold lingo in a public forum.
biggest mistake was that he had antagonized Christians of Sarawak who
also happen to form the majority in the state. Not that Nasharuddin
cared at all. Even his colleagues in PAS have chastised and criticized
Hoisting religious harmony flag
have proudly proclaimed this a million times in writing and in public
forums - that there is genuine religious harmony in Sarawak and there is
no religious extremism or fanaticism in the state. This is something
we, Sarawakians, are very proud of.
Today, let me respectfully
ask Nasharuddin not to try to export his religious extremism into
Sarawak. Muslims and Christians in Sarawak are a different breed.
We have never experienced any difficulty among ourselves before and I don't think we ever will.
is something uniquely Sarawakian and only we Sarawakians can
comprehend. Please don't contaminate our beloved state with your
If it is true that Sarawak DAP had erred in
the manner as alleged by Nasharuddin, Muslim leaders in Sarawak would be
able to handle the ‘problem' if indeed there is one.
no need for the likes of Nasharuddin to poke his misplaced nose into a
Sarawakian issue which he will never be able to understand.
any event, Nasharuddin must be aware that there is also PAS in Sarawak
and the state chapter should be able to handle any differences with DAP
in the state if there is any.
DAP's roller coaster political ride
is how Pakatan Rakyat should work. Is Nasharuddin still with Pakatan or
is he contemplating seeking his political fortunes elsewhere?
without the Sarawak DAP's open denial of Nasharuddin's claims, those
who know the DAP well in the state will realize the untruth in his
DAP is not known for its religious forte. It has never been a religious-based party.
party's first attraction was socialism. Then the party flashed its hard
hitting brand of democratic ideals which caught on with Malaysians,
particularly the Chinese.
Along the way, racialism and chauvinism sadly but inevitably crept in.
the party prevailed through all these decades primarily due to its
political astuteness and consistencies coupled with strong leadership
and staunch grassroots. These are the hallmarks of the DAP.
Since its entry in Sarawak in 1978, none of its key state leaders were known to have strong religious backgrounds.
if they did, they never revealed it. Although some are Christians, they
have not used their faith as a vote-catching mechanism. Neither have
they harped on religious rhetoric in electoral campaigns.
In a nutshell, it would not be wrong to say that Sarawak DAP never has had a Christian flavour or fervour.
Their leaders do not politicise religion. So Nasharuddin's allegations can be dispelled outright in a single swoop.
me say this again. Muslims and Christians in Sarawak have no problem
with each other and indeed those of other faiths too. There are no
religious bigots in Sarawak.
To those holier-than-thou radicals
and extremists in West Malaysia who think they are the only true
champions of God, Allah, Tuhan, Yahweh etc, please make an effort to
learn from Sarawakians - the so-called backward Borneo people who
practice their faith solemnly in quiet hope and peace, never uttering a
single negative word against those of a different religion.
You'll be surprised that the Heavenly One loves Sarawakians just as much, if not more.
Nasharuddin Mat Isa, the next time you have something negative to say
about Christianity and Sarawak, please use your head - the one on your
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