Religious experts to join Hadi at forum

HAPPY NEW YEAR: Rais (second left) with his wife Datin Seri Maznah Rais (third left) participating in the 1Malaysia New Year marathon. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Religious experts and state muftis will participate in the Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) forum in which PAS president Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang is to explain the ‘Amanat Haji Hadi’ (Haji Hadi Message) that has disunited Muslims in Malaysia, Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said yesterday.

He said Hadi could not decide for himself and be overly confident due to his religious education background “because there will always be people who are smarter than us”.

“RTM is a right of the people and it can be used to explain any issue, but not only from one source (Hadi alone). There must be participation of other knowledgeable and experienced people,” he told reporters after the 1Malaysia New Year Run at Dataran Merdeka, here.

Rais said Hadi must be prepared to present arguments against the opinions of others, but this would be conducted in a conducive atmosphere.

Hadi could not assume that the ‘Amanat Haji Hadi’ that he delivered in 1981 was conclusive, he said.

Rais said Hadi did not sit on the Fatwa (Edicts) Committee or any state Islamic religious council and that he was only a politician who had given his own view, one that was based on sentiment shrouded by politics.

The minister said he hoped that Hadi, over the RTM forum, would withdraw his message branding Umno members and supporters as infidels but, if he wanted to retain the message, he should hear out the views of the religious experts.

He also said that Hadi had yet to apply officially to appear over RTM, but preparations were being made to hold the forum, which would not have a studio audience.

Rais was asked to comment on Hadi’s insistence that he wanted to appear live for one hour over a local television channel to explain the ‘Amanat Haji Hadi’ he had delivered in 1981. The message branded Umno members and supporters as infidels and led to disunity among Muslims in the country.

On another matter, Rais called on political parties in the country to remain united in the social context of Malaysia.

Malaysia should be given every assistance without heed to political, religious and cultural backgrounds so that the country continued to be highly regarded at the international level, he said.

“We have to be united outside the political context; it is not only politics that can unite us but our sense of belonging as citizens of Malaysia,” he said.

“Members and supporters of PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) have to nurture their children, just like Umno members and supporters do; we cannot be obsessed with politics to the extent of neglecting the country and our nationality,” he said.

On the run, Rais, who also took part, said it was satisfying to see multiracial unity at the event.

“Participants have come from Penang, Kedah and Johor. Some 10,000 people participated in the run, and it fostered the spirit of 1Malaysia,” he said, adding that the event could become an annual one. — Bernama

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