KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 – PKR and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) will continue to be newer versions of Umno and maintain an Islamic agenda, says a former Barisan Nasional lawmaker Tawfik Ismail.
The son of the late Tun Dr Ismail, who was the nation’s second deputy prime minister, told Free Malaysia Today that this is evident from the behaviour of leaders from these two parties.
“The ex-Umno Baru bunch in PKR and Bersatu seem reluctant to appear un-Islamic, whether in addressing the issue of child marriages, de-institutionalising religion or pushing for change where religious matters were concerned.
“At least where ultraconservative Islamisation is concerned, I have to admit neither Bersatu nor PKR seem to really want to kill what Mahathir and Anwar created,” Tawfik was quoted as saying, referring to when the duo were in government together in the 1980s and 1990s.
According to Tawfik, Malaysia was put on the path to ultra-conservative Islamisation in the 1980s by Mahathir, with the setting up of the powerful Jakim, and Anwar, who pushed his idea of “Penerapan nilai-nilai Islam” in the government.
PKR, Bersatu moderates need to form bloc
“The religious agenda continues to be driven by the very same people who made it more important than it should have been. It’s both lawmakers and civil servants,” he was quoted as saying by FMT.
As a result, Tawfik, who was a founding member of the group of moderate prominent Malays, or G25, called for MPs from the ruling Pakatan Harapan, especially in PKR and Bersatu, to remain independent and progressive.
He also urged the moderate leaders in PKR and Bersatu to form a bloc, and take charge to prevent the two parties from going down the path of race and religion.
Tawfik spoke of former ministers Dato’ Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who left Umno recently, saying as moderates they would not find any difference should they decide to join PKR or Bersatu.
Mahathir’s Umno Baru ditched noble ideals of original party
He also blamed Mahathir for the demise of the original Umno in 1987 and the setting up of Umno Baru.
“People say Umno is dying. That’s not accurate because Umno already died in 1987 when it was declared illegal along with its noble ideals,” he said, according to FMT.
“I’m cynical of Umno, Bersatu and PKR because they’re all fragments of Umno Baru, which was unrecognisable from the original Umno.
“So, will we really see a different Malaysia?” he asked, referring to the ex-Umno leaders now helming PKR and Bersatu, and the likelihood of more current Umno leaders ditching their party to join Pakatan Harapan.