PETALING JAYA: It is halfway past the month of Ramadan and it’s not just health, hope and happiness being aspired for.
There seems to be an apparent cooling down of the country’s robust political climate.
Political parties, mainly Malay-based, have thus far exercised much restraint over the course of the fasting month.
One senior Pakatan Harapan leader said the ruling coalition did so in the hope of regaining lost ground among the Malays.
Another of the parties slapped a wide-ranging gag order on its leaders although it is not clear if this has to do with Ramadan.
Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu feels that the Malay-based parties are using Ramadan to “reposition” themselves among the Malays.
“There has been a calmness somewhat. Pakatan parties have realised that they need to restrategise as they are slowly regaining Malay grassroots support after tasting defeat in three by-elections,” he said when contacted.
Mohamad, the Defence Minister who is popularly known as Mat Sabu, said Pakatan tried to set a fine example by tackling matters connected to fund abuse in Tabung Haji and Felda.
He said the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak showed that the new government was bent on weeding out corruption.“Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad paved the way for calm with his speech to mark the first anniversary of Pakatan Harapan,” he said.
The spat between Dr Mahathir and Johor’s Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim has also somewhat abated with the latter saying he wanted to focus on the holy month.
There was a let-up on this last week when Tunku Ismail, the 34-year-old who is popularly known as TMJ, posted on Intagram that he had “all the time to win”, in an apparent reference to his youth compared to the 94-year-old Prime Minister.This resulted in netizens advising the Crown Prince that death is always unexpected, even to the young.
After this, the remarks on the Instagram posting were removed, with just the hour-glass icon remaining.
Cabinet ministers have, besides attending to their official duties, been spending much time joining the people at buka puasa events.
In PAS, after the “dedak (bribes) cartel” revelation by Zaharuddin Muhammad, who is the son-in-law of party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, the Islamist party ordered all its leaders to zip up in what is seen as enforced restraint during the holy month.
Zaharudin had raised the issue of an audio recording involving Bachok MP Nik Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz talking about Umno’s alleged funding of PAS.
Pakatan secretariat chief Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah commended all politicians who have made an attempt to “hold their tongues” during the fasting month.
“This is Malaysia Baharu. We should uphold and promote ‘new politics’ – one that is knowledge-based. We should steer clear of gutter politics and hate speech.
“We should also avoid being too adversarial.
“This should be our practice all the time.
“But during Ramadan, there should be much more self- restraint,” added Saifuddin, who is also the Foreign Minister.
Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is discharging the duties of the president, said many political leaders were conducting charitable work during Ramadan.
“Most have also been focusing on their constituencies,” said the Rantau assemblyman.
However, a Johor executive councillor, who declined to be named, cautioned that even though the waters appeared to be calm on the surface, “one should never overlook what lurks beneath”.