Vocal Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin took to Facebook on Monday, claiming PH leaders did not do enough to defend Islam.
In response, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad called Asri “deaf” for not paying attention to the government’s efforts for Muslim welfare and other concerns.
“If he could hear, we do many things for Muslims and Islam, but he does not hear it,” he was quoted as saying.
In a statement today, Patriot chief Brig-Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji told the Asri that the government’s primary agenda must be on restoring Malaysia’s economy which has been “raped with successive scandals by the previous administration”.
He said Asri is prejudiced in his criticism of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and has little credibility to speak on the concerns of the people.
He further called on Asri to drop his prejudices and think like a Malaysian.
He asked if Asri was ignorant that opposition spin masters were concocting lies on race, religion and royalty issues because the opposition parties had nothing on national issues to fault the PH government with.
Arshad said Asri, in accusing PH of bullying Muslims, had ignored the administration’s efforts in assisting the Malays.
“Our Prime Minister and his cabinet’s main concern is the economy. Putting right the economy which has been raped through successive scandals by the previous administration will go a long way towards helping the people, the majority of which comprise the Malay poor,” he said.
“The government allocated RM6.3bil to rescue Felda, and another RM17.8bil on a restructuring plan for Lembaga Tabung Haji.
“These bailouts of RM24bil to solve problems created by the past administration are huge amounts, and the non-Malays are not protesting,” he added.
“BN-era infrastructure contracts given to Malays/Umno cronies are allowed by the Finance Ministry to continue after renegotiation, saving a meagre sum of RM 806 million. If these actions of the government are not considered kind towards the people, particularly the Muslims, then what is?” asked Arshad.
The veteran also questioned Asri’s credibility for not speaking up strongly enough against Najib and the top officials of the previous administration for their alleged wrongdoings.
He said as head of the state’s Islamic religion, Asri must also propagate unity among all races from different religions.
Arshad also said the issue of the arrest of independent preacher Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu for allegedly insulting Hinduism, which Asri seemed to have protested, is an isolated issue.
“Let the investigation runs its course. Patriot would like to reiterate that no one, no preacher, whatever the religious denomination, should make comparison on one’s religion with the others. Doing so would invite animosity that will divide further our society that is at the lowest ebb now,” he said.
“The reality on the ground is that Mohd Asri and his cohorts who are prejudiced, sow hatred and spin lies to create uneasiness and distrust, should be stopped. For the future of our country to be prosperous, peaceful, and to safeguard our future generations, they must start thinking as Malaysians,” Arshad added.
On Monday (April 29), Asri said the arrest of his close associate Zamri was a “political reality that allows Muslims to be bullied”.
Zamri was arrested on Sunday (April 28) in Kangar, Perlis, over remarks that were said to have insulted Hinduism.
Zamri, who heads Muslim propagation organisation One Centre Malaysia, is being investigated under Section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act over a lecture at a mosque in Kelantan last year.
Perlis police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Noor Mushar Mohamad said Zamri has a criminal record and is also being investigated for criminal breach of trust and over a rape case.