02 June, 2007

Pak Lah pretending to be pious ?

Malaysia's Islamic opposition party unleashed an unusually scathing attack against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Friday, accusing him of pretending to be a pious Muslim leader and of ignoring corruption that besets the country.

The criticism by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party or PAS marked a new push in its campaign to prevent Abdullah's ruling coalition from achieving another landslide victory in national elections, widely expected by early 2008.

"It is shameful that even though he (Abdullah) is famed with his approach of Islam Hadhari (progressive Islam), which has been publicized all over the world, exposures of corruption are increasingly severe in his administration," PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang told the party's annual congress.

UMNO and PAS both vie for the support of ethnic Malay Muslims, who comprise nearly 60 percent of a population that also includes ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who follow mainly Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism.

Abdul Hadi urged PAS members to prepare for national elections, noting there were signs _ such as a pay hike for government employees _ that indicate Abdullah will call a snap poll soon, even though his mandate only expires in 2009.

Datuk Seri Hadi then called on the party to gear up for snap polls 'The people, including civil servants, the armed forces, the police and others, are being baited...with pay hikes,' he said.

The question now, however, is whether PAS is strong enough to retain control of Kelantan.

Hadi Awang yesterday lashed out at Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, accusing him of, among other things, pretending to be a pious leader while ignoring alleged corruption in the country.

Datuk Seri Hadi alleged that the government had apparently denied, but failed to disprove, opposition allegations of graft, including claims that the country's Defence Ministry paid massive commissions to middlemen in deals to buy Russian aircraft and French submarines.

He was quoted as saying: '(Datuk Seri Abdullah) has not seen this, or perhaps he has fallen asleep.'

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