Pas Losing Support Over Mat Sabu Remark
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 – The heat is starting to become a bit too hot to handle for PAS after nearly two weeks of fire started by a remark by deputy president Mohamad Sabu, in which he allegedly made a hero out of a man who led the Bukit Kepong massacre, 61 years ago.
The remark put PAS in a position of having to defend Mohamad in the face of a wave of protests not just among the public but also veterans of the security forces and family members of those who were killed in the February 1950 incident.
This is not to mention a barrage of police reports — over 500 and counting — lodged against the controversial politician, known by his moniker Mat Sabu.
With more voicing their displeasure, the issue has now turned into a political battlefront, with PAS finding itself encircled and having parry condemnation in what is fast becoming a Bukit Kepong battle of its own.
After more than a week of silence, PAS addressed the criticism this week in a press conference by secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali which provided no hint of remorse over Mat Sabu’s statement.
“PAS rejects the communist ideology and its struggle,” Mustafa said.
He remained adamant however, in defending Mat Sabu and his statement that Mat Indera, the man who led the Bukit Kepong attack, was an independence fighter, citing the content of a book, “Pengukir Nama Johor”, to back up his claim.
Nevertheless, Mustafa acknowledged that Umno had played a role in the country’s struggle for independence but said that such struggle had started much earlier during the era of Datuk Maharajalela, Datuk Bahaman, Tok Janggut, Dol Said and Abdul Rahman Limbong.
Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said Mat Indera was communist.
The country’s history, said Abdul Ghani, recorded that the 25 members of the security forces and their families who were killed in the Bukit Kepong tragedy were the real heroes.
Malaysian Ex-Servicemen’s Association president Datuk Muhammad Abdul Ghani claimed that remnants of communist ideology remained alive despite the agreement signed in 1989 for the communist to lay down arms.
“Mat Sabu should not allow himself to be used by certain quarters,” he added.
Muhammad said Mat Sabu, in claiming that Mat Indera was a real hero, had failed to consider the feelings of those involved in fighting the communist.
A political science lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Dungun, Che Hamdan Mohd Razali, said the issue had impacted PAS negatively.
“I believe the fence-sitters, especially the Malays, will feel slighted and distance themselves from PAS,” he added.
“Why the dispute now?” Che Hamdan asked.