Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party chief Hadi Awang, pictured here, has called for former government figures accused of graft to be pardoned because they are Muslim. (Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)
With trials set to begin and scores of Malaysia's former leaders facing jail for corruption and financial crimes, a powerful Muslim cleric-turned-politician has decried efforts to enforce the rule of law irrespective of the religious status of the defendants.
Malaysian Islamic Party chief, Hadi Awang, fighting a rearguard action to dispel growing disillusionment and among his co-religionists over the morality and ethics of the nation's former Muslim leaders, said their religion should be taken into consideration when judging them.In a lengthy opinion piece titled "Rule of Law: Where is Allah?" on Facebook where he has thousands of followers, Hadi stressed the importance of Islamic laws in governing the country.The cleric, who is also an MP, argued that Muslims should continue to trust Muslim leaders regardless of the crimes they may have committed."If the one leading is a Muslim, even if he were cruel, at least [others] can become cattle herders," he wrote in a rehash of a quote attributed to a medieval Muslim ruler following the fall of his kingdom that he often cites to justify Islamic governance.
Hadi urged that the government leaders who were ousted in last May's election, be pardoned for their crimes.
Najib is accused of corruption and money laundering in connection with $681m that was found his bank account, allegedly from the 1MDB government economic development fund.
In a study conducted by the center, many in the community were also said to be against the Mahathir's appointment of two Christians — Richard Malanjum as chief justice and Tommy Thomas as attorney-general — and see it as an anathema in Muslim-majority Malaysia.The people surveyed disagreed with non-Malays holding the top posts as they felt such appointments threatened the position of Islam and Malay special rights.