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PAS spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat opened fire at Umno by claiming his political rivals are desperate to dislodge him from leading Kelantan in order to revive the troubled Barisan Nasional coalition. The long-serving Kelantan mentri besar explained that the Malay party's state of despair is akin to a drowning person desperate to do anything to say alive, including making unfounded accusations against him to unseat him. “The story is that Umno is drowning, willing to say anything including the accusations made against me. They know that they are weak. Terengganu is divided, there is Umno A and Umno B. Perak is worse, they are fighting for the speaker’s robe,” Nik Aziz told the 1,000-strong audience at Taman Melewar here.

He added that both of Umno’s main allies in Barisan Nasional are also in a state of disorder. “MCA, which is Umno’s right crutch, is in chaos. So is MIC, who is Umno’s left crutch. So they have nothing to do but make accusations against me. He advised Umno to stop ‘dreaming” of trying to capture Kelantan. “What are they going to do in Kelantan? They want to create a religion? They want to create a religion because they don’t have Islam. It is simple to build a mosque but religion and mosque are different,” the popular PAS leader said.

Nik Aziz said that Umno is pretending to build a mosque so that they can pretend that they are praying. He has been a trenchant critic of Umno and has protested any unity with the traditional political foe following the party's brief membership in Barisan Nasional between 1974 and 1977 that resulted in PAS losing Kelantan in the 1978 general election. “They don’t fight for Islam. They want to fight for people, country and race? Who taught them this? The white man. Who is the white man? Like the Prophet Muhammad no longer exists,” said the Deoband-trained cleric who was voted the 42nd most influential Muslim by a Jordanian institute recently.

He added that Islam does not differentiate between the different races. “Can a Malay movement save the religion? Malay is different. Islam is different." Nik Aziz stressed that Islam is key towards achieving 1 Malaysia. “Umno claims that Islamic is chaotic and divisive. They tried Islam Hadhari but it did not work and now comes 1 Malaysia. "Malaysia is the best place to have Islam because there are Chinese, Malays and Indians. They want to unite the people with what? With Islam,” he said to a loud applause from the crowd. The mainstream media has accused Nik Aziz of asking the people of Kelantan to pray for misfortune to befall the prime minister if the federal government refuses to give oil royalty to the state.

He has also been bogged down by accusations of cronyism and corruption since last month over the controversial appointment of his son-in-law Ariffahmi Abdul Rahman as the CEO of Kelantan Mentri Besar Corporation (PMBK) and for receiving sponsorship to perform the pilgrimage in Mecca from a businessman. He later cancelled the religious trip this year and ordered his son-in-law to leave the state investment arm following pressure from party leaders and the public. Last month, a debate on the Kelantan succession plan began when a senior state executive councillor, Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, urged Nik Aziz to name his successor, arguing that a succession plan would stabilise the Kelantan government. The discussion on the succession plan has also been seen to be manipulated by Umno leaders to weaken Nik Aziz’s position. However, the Islamist party has dismissed the suggestion and said that the influential spiritual leader can continue to rule the state without naming a successor.


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