Tenang voters, watch out. PAS will "chop off" your hands, warns Ghani

Johor Mentri Besar Ghani Othman has warned voters in Tenang not to vote for PAS, otherwise the Islamist party may “chop off your hands for stealing”.

“What will happen when PAS comes to power? PAS already came to the Felda areas, saying that they want to form an Islamic state. They say they want laws to chop off your hands for stealing. That is the content of their campaign with the Malays in Chemplak in Tenang,” Malaysiakini reported Ghani as saying.

Ghani’s astonishing and many say irresponsible comments come a day after MCA president Chua Soi Lek had derided PAS candidate Normala Sudirman and PKR president Wan Azizah for wearing gloves when they shook hands with the public.
“Normala will not come here to a Chinese temple, she doesn't even shake hands with the people. I have received complaints about this. She is like Anwar Ibrahim's wife. She wears gloves when she shakes hands. If you can accept this kind of Islamic value, go ahead and vote for PAS," Chua had said.

Making an ogre of Islam
Indeed, religious and racial bigotry is being used unabashedly by the BN to divide the ethnic groups in Tenang and squeeze the maximum votes for their candidate Azahar Ibrahim. Such tactics have long been condemned by civil society, with communal politics identified as one of major contributors to the BN’s disastrous electoral performance in the 2008 general election.

But BN is either not interested to learn its lesson or the feedback it has received is such that it has made Prime Minister Najib Razak abandon his hazy 1Malaysia slogan. The PM has given the green light for race-championing and religious-emoting strategies to win at Tenang. In fact, BN's chief strategy is to bash down Islam and make it feared and even repulsive to non-Muslims.

But even if done in the name of politcal expediency, the extreme way in which Umno and BN have gone about it has shocked many Malaysians regardless of race and religion.
“Now, we are back to extreme is it? The last Umno was accusing PAS was of selling out to DAP, of fearing DAP. How come we are now extreme? Would DAP and PKR work with us if we are extreme?” Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said.

Tried to tansfer out Normala's husband

 Tenang has nearly 15,000 voters, of which 39 per cent are Chinese and 12 per cent Indian. Nomination is on Saturday and balloting on Januray 30.
BN had started on the wrong foot when it tried to transfer out Normala’s teacher husband in a bid to pressure her not to become the PAS candidate. But the articulate 38-year old has taken the ‘blackmail’ in her stride and instead increased her efforts to break the ice with the non-Malays.

 “We know their game and Normala has been advised to ignore the doublespeak. The BN especially Umno is shameless. That they can sacrifice Islam like this is sinful. In front of the Malays, they accuse us of foregoing our ideals by working with DAP. And now when they speak to the Chinese, they say we are extreme,” PAS senior leader Hatta Ramli told Malaysia Chronicle.
Ghani also accused PAS of coveting power. He even blamed Pakatan for dividing the people and creating racial polarization.

“PAS is now ecstatic that the Chinese voters are supporting them. Our country is now peaceful because we are moderates, so are our government policies. If we give PAS a seat, they are no moderates. They are extremists,” he said.
“In 2008, a lot of things happened. I hope you know that it is all a negative influence because what happened then, it was the Pakatan Rakyat tactic to divide the people. They want to make the Indians unhappy and dissatisfied with the government. If that is the way they intend to rule the country, it will all then be in ruins.”

Yet Ghani, a former university lecturer, omitted to mention that both former premiers Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Badawi have previously claimed Malaysia was an Islamic state. He also overlooked the fact that, in 2007, the Hindraf uprising was to protest the marginalization of the Indian community after 5 decades of BN rule.

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