Anwar Slams Umno For Smear-Campaign Against Nik Aziz
By Wong Choon Mei
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has slammed Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Umno-BN for launching a smear campaign against PAS spiritual adviser Nik Aziz Nik Mat after the Kelantan Menteri Besar rejected Umno’s overtures for unity talks.
This shows that they feel threatened by Nik Aziz. I don’t think it is a healthy practise. He is a well-respected figure,” Anwar told reporters on Monday.
Nik Aziz, the senior-most leader in the Islamist party, has been the most vocal critic of Umno.
He even gave his deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa a public scolding recently for not immediately rejecting Najib’s offer to form a unity government with PAS and its Pakatan Rakyat partners.
Because of this, Umno has been targeting the 78-year old religious scholar, accusing him of being the stumbling block to Malay and Islamic unity in the country.
Meanwhile, Pakatan has scoffed at the Umno allegations, counter-accusing the ruling coalition of trying to split not just their alliance but the entire country by fanning racial sentiments.
Top Pakatan leaders including Anwar, Nik Aziz and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang will hold a rally at the MPPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya, Selangor at 9 pm on Tuesday to reassure voters that they will fight together as a team to bring further reforms to the country.
Afraid to face Nik Aziz in public debate
Anwar also ticked off Umno for unethical politicking by picking on Nik Aziz just to gather support for the Manik Urai by-election due to be polled on July 14.
“Such a smear campaign against Nik Aziz is not necessary but I expect it to increase during the by-election,” said Anwar.
PAS’s Mohd Fauzi Abdullah will face off against Umno’s Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat in Manik Urai, a core Malay heartland and a key referendum on Najib’s acceptability as a leader in his own community.
Indeed, over the weekend Najib’s deputy Muhyiddin Yassin said Nik Aziz should seek forgiveness from God for likening Umno to religious extremists Ayah Pin and the Sky Kingdom.
The DPM was following through on a police report lodged by an Umno Youth leader who alleged that Nik Aziz’s comments were seditious.
“When a Muslim accuses another of not being a Muslim, well, I really don’t know what to say as such an accusation is a very serious offence in Islam,” Muhyiddin was reported as saying in Sunday’s edition of the Star.
Nik Aziz has denied the accusations and has challenged Najib to a public debate if the premier was still resentful and dissatisfied over the unity talks issue.
However, Najib’s supporters have rushed to reject the offer on his behalf.
“The debate will not bring anything. In fact, I believe now is not the time for the government or the prime minister to spend time debating,” said Rais Yatim, Information Minister.