Hadi roundly criticised over racist comment

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PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang has been roundly criticised for his claim that non-Muslims and non-bumiputra are the causes of corruption in the country.

Ronnie Chin/The Star

In his statement on Saturday, he claimed that the root cause of corruption in the country was due to the influence non-Malays wielded over the economy and politics.

He said this had allowed non-Malays to dictate terms to the Malays, which in turn made the Malays become corrupted and entangled in financial scandals.

In response, MCA secretary-general Datuk Chong Sin Woon expressed shock at Hadi’s statement and demanded that he withdraw it immediately.

“It cannot be emphasised enough that no reasonable person would ever link the issue of graft with race and religion.

“Such misinformation is appalling, more so coming from a seasoned political leader,” he said yesterday.

Chong emphasised that corruption had nothing to do with race or religion.

“This is an obvious fact and basic common sense.”

He said Abdul Hadi had failed to prove his accusations with facts, analysis, empirical evidence or scientific grounds.

“This indicates that his allegations are utter nonsense,” he said.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P Ramasamy criticised Hadi for his “ludicrous” remark, which implied that the Malay leaders in Umno were not guilty of corruption as the non-Malays manipulated them.

“If that is the case, Hadi should advise the judiciary not to prosecute the Malay leaders as they are innocent.

“The blame should be cast on the ‘conniving non-Malays’, the real culprits,” he added.

Ramasamy believed that Hadi was “sharpening his tools” to be relevant to the Malay electorate for the general election.

Moderation advocate Mohamed Tawfik Ismail said Hadi was using the race card as an attempt to garner Malay support for the party.

“Playing race and religious politics is not a good way to persuade people to your side of your political argument because it makes people divided and suspicious of each other.

“As politicians, your duty is to unite people rather than to divide them,” he said.

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah said the PAS leader’s claims were unsubstantiated and without any basis.

“Corruption is not about race but money being leaked out unmonitored.

“We should not be pointing fingers at any race, but at the people or individuals who commit the act, and they must be taken to task,” she said.

She added that Hadi was irresponsible for making such a statement and that he should instead be encouraging people to live together harmoniously in a multiracial society.

Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto said Malaysians did not deserve a leader like Hadi, who she said was unable to look at any issue without his racist lenses.

“When was the last time Hadi spoke in Parliament on corruption or abuse of power?” she asked.

She added that Hadi’s “venomous poltiics” had no place in the country.

This is especially so when Malaysians are getting ready to celebrate National Day soon.

“He should rid himself of his ‘penjajah’ (colonial) mentality and embrace all Malaysians and work together for nation-building instead of becoming a wedge among Malaysians,” she said.

Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) has called on Hadi to back his claim.

Art Chen/The Star

“We seek to know the sources and data behind his claim,” TI-M president Muhammad Mohan said.

He added that those who make such misrepresentations should be held accountable by the law.

Muhammad said that appointed officials and all Malaysians should avoid making sweeping statements and “practise an evidence-based approach towards understanding and fighting corruption”.

In a statement, Muhammad censured Hadi for having a narrow myopic view of corruption.

“Corruption is colour blind and it affects us all,” he said.

He said such comments made in a multiracial, multiethnic and multifaith democracy were “deplorable, racist, slanderous and potentially seditious”.

“They smack of a narrow, myopic view on corruption and provokes feelings which are in direct antithesis with the prime minister’s concept of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’,” he said.

He said that in this month of Merdeka, it was sad and shameful to hear the baseless and provocative comments on eradicating corruption.

Meanwhile, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng has urged police to probe Hadi for making a remark that may cause public outrage.

The DAP lawmaker also questioned the Islamist party’s top man’s intention for stating such statistics without any solid proof or reference to support it.

“Therefore, I also ask the police to investigate Abdul Hadi whether he has issued malicious statements that have caused public outrage.

“If the statement is proven to be unfounded, I want the government to drag him to the criminal court according to Section 505(c) of the Penal Code for making a statement with the intention of favouring any group or race, Section 504 of the same code which is a humiliating statement that may cause a breach of peace and or other acts that can be convicted on him,” he said in a statement today.

Section 505(c) of the Penal Code, carries imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine, or both, upon conviction.

Meanwhile, Section 504 of the Penal Code deals with intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of peace.

“Hadi can get the official figures of corruption cases in our country as well as statistics according to the states that are in the highest position of corruption crimes, to prove his statement.

“Not with such baseless and reckless accusations,” he added.