[lg policy] Malaysia:Opposition Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang has ratcheted up a feud with Dr Mahathir Mohamad

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu Jan 18 11:03:39 EST 2018


KUALA LUMPUR — Opposition Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) president Abdul
Hadi Awang has ratcheted up a feud with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, accusing the
former Malaysian prime minister of introducing the policy of using English
as the language of instruction for maths and science in schools as well as
the Vision 2020 blueprint.

Mr Hadi used religion to justify his attacks, saying Islam does not force
its followers to change race, skin colour or language.

“Unfortunately, we have leaders among us who once wanted to make English a
compulsory language in the education system, supposedly for the development
of the country,” he said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 18) with the title
“Jati diri umat Islam bersama bahasanya” (The identity of Muslims is with
their language).

“Furthermore, (he wanted) introduce a foreign workforce of teachers and
allocated funds that should have gone to do things that would have been
more beneficial for the country and the people.”
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The policy of teaching and learning science and maths in English was
introduced by Dr Mahathir in 2003 but it was abolished nine years later by
the administration of his successor Najib Razak.

Critics had claimed the policy dragged down students’ performances and was
particularly unfair on children who are not proficient in the language.

Meanwhile, Vision 2020 is a 30-year plan introduced by Dr Mahathir in 1991
which aims to bring the country to developed-nation status by the end of
the decade.

Turning his attention to Vision 2020, Mr Hadi said it is no longer
achievable and development is stunted.

“There is only two years left to 2020, but our development is akin to bred
fish, not like fish that’s free to roam. However, Allah always leave His
door to repentance as wide as from the East to the West or as long as
person lives, from puberty until there’s still life left in the throat,” he
said.

“Don’t blame others, blame yourself.”

This is not the first time the two veteran politicians have been at each
other’s throats.

Earlier this month, Dr Mahathir — who is the chairman of opposition Pakatan
Harapan pact — called Mr Hadi a traitor and kafir (infidel) over the
latter’s decision for his party to contest 130 parliamentary seats in the
upcoming general election which is expected to be called in the next few
months.

Dr Mahathir also accused Mr Hadi of aligning PAS with the ruling United
Malays National Organisation (Umno) and previously with the opposition
Chinese-majority Democratic Action Party (DAP), which the latter had called
both parties as infidels.

This prompted Mr Hadi to warn that the former premier has crossed the line
and that Dr Mahathir’s action was an act of desperation.

PAS split from the federal opposition pact in 2015 over differences of the
former’s intention to implement the Islamic penal code in Kelantan.

The Islamist party subsequently formed a pact called Gagasan Sejahtera with
little known Parti Ikatan, led by former Umno minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh
Fadzir.
Dr Mahathir was named Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) candidate for prime minister
earlier this month, setting PH up for a clash with ruling Barisan Nasional
coalition and Gagasan Sejahtera in the upcoming national polls.

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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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