KUCHING: Some BN leaders cannot fathom how the man who said the Dayaks are still wearing “cawat” (loinclothes) wants to be the next prime minister.
The insulting remark by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang which was made in July 2010 was still fresh in their minds.
“To us Dayaks, this (Hadi to be PM) is looking down on us and very condescending. The Dayaks, even those in the Opposition I think, would know who not to support,” SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom told The Star yesterday.
On top of that, he said, PAS championing the implementation of the Hudud Law did not go down well with some non-Muslim communities and had caused some uneasiness even among the other Opposition leaders.
Mawan, who is also Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) president, urged the Dayak community, especially PR supporters, to think twice when casting their votes.
“We should see it coming. The Hudud Law would be implemented if Hadi becomes PM,” he said.
Hadi had angered Sarawak’s Iban community when he blamed PKR’s loss in the April 7, 2010 Batang Ai by-election to ignorant voters who did not know how to vote and “were still wearing loinclothes”.
His remarks, made in the run-up to the Manek Urai by-election, were carried by an online news portal in July 2010.
In the Batang Ai by-election, Barisan Nasional retained the Iban-majority seat when PRS’ Malcom Mussen Lamoh defeated former five-time Lubok Antu MP Jawah Gerang of PKR by 1,854 votes.
The call for Hadi to be PM if PR were to win the coming elections began as early as January this year.
Selangor exco member Datuk Dr Hasan Ali said he would choose either PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat or Hadi as his choice for PR’s candidate for prime minister.
Last week during the 58th PAS Muktamar, ulama representative Hairun Nizam said Hadi was the best candidate for the job if PR took over Putrajaya.
“Our president has the calibre to lead the country on the righteous path with Allah’s blessing. We should not campaign for others to take the lead. I want to ask the delegates who is the best to lead the government if it is not Tok Guru Hadi,” he said.
Hadi also indicated that he was ready to take on the PM post, saying that it was “thrilling”.
In response to that, PR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he would discuss the matter with his PR colleagues, saying: “It’s okay. No problem. We will discuss in a nice manner.”
DAP however was not in favour of the idea, saying the Opposition pact was of the view that Anwar was the best candidate for prime minister.
Meanwhile, PBB supreme council member and Assistant Housing and Youth Minister Abdul Karim Hamzah said Hadi had insulted the Dayaks and Sarawakians in general when he made the “cawat” remark.
“Isn’t this the chap who belittled the natives of Sarawak as still backward, still wearing ‘cawat’ and don’t know how to vote?
“All Sarawakians feel insulted by that derogatory remark, and till today Hadi has not apologised or retracted his malicious remark. And PAS expects Sarawakians to swallow their pride and accept him as PM? No way!” said Karim.
He said maybe the state’s DAP and PKR would accept Hadi as PM as they were peninsula-based, thus did not have any sense of love for Sarawak and its people.
PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Masing said although Hadi’s personal credibility and attitude might be better than Anwar’s, his Islamic principles and philosophy might not be everyone’s cup of tea in the diverse Malaysian community.
“His premiership, if it were to happen, would be oriented towards Islamic principles and philosophy. But is the multiracial and multi-religious Malaysia ready for that type of leadership?
“His ‘cawat’ remark is a reflection of his attitude towards non-muslims and the Dayaks, but his Islamic principles remain intact. We must know the difference between attitude and principle,” said Masing.
SUPP Youth chief Tan Kai said he would strongly protest if PR were to win and appoint Hadi as the PM.
“As a non-Muslim living in Malaysia, I will strongly protest it. It will destroy the current religious harmony in Malaysia,” he said.