KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has defended his use of the word “jihad” against the Pakatan Harapan government.
According to Ismail Sabri, the word “jihad” does not mean that war is being waged against any group in particular.
Ismail Sabri said that when he used the word “jihad”, it simply meant “struggle” in his context.
“Some people think ‘jihad’ means war. No, ‘jihad’ means struggle. Struggle on economy, on education… Struggle on everything,” he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby on Monday (April 1).
Ismail Sabri reportedly made the statement in Sabah Bernam on Sunday (March 31) during a joint Umno-PAS gathering.
He was quoted by The Malaysian Insight as saying that PAS and Umno are waging a “jihad” to overthrow the Pakatan Harapan government that is anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
Ismail Sabri said that Muslim unity meant uniting everyone, not just Muslims.
“Each time in our speeches, Muslim unity means unity among the Muslims and Malays without sidelining any other races.”
He also pointed out that PAS’ administration of the Kelantan state government is proof of how other races are not left behind.
“There are no issues that made other races fearful of the PAS-Umno cooperation.”
“The biggest Buddha statue is in Kelantan and Siamese temples are there. So there is no reason for other races to be afraid of Muslim unity through these two parties,” he added.
At the same time, Ismail Sabri maintained that the PAS and Umno pact are moderate in its political views.
“If we are not moderate, we won’t be in the same (coalition) as MCA and MIC.
“In fact, when MCA has problems, we have to strengthen MCA so that the Chinese support us through MCA.”
Earlier on Monday (April 1), Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng gave Ismail Sabri 24 hours to retract a statement that Umno and PAS were “waging jihad” against Pakatan.
If Ismail Sabri fails to retract the statement, Lim said, he would demand the police to take action for the “malicious and seditious hate speech”.
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