JUST EXPLAIN: Perak religious leader dismisses Pas leader's request for live television slot
KUALA LUMPUR: PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has come under fire for asking for a live television slot to explain his "Amanat Haji Hadi" (Haji Hadi's Message) delivered in 1981, branding Umno members and supporters as "kafir" (infidels).
Perak mufti Tan Sri Dr Harussani Zakaria, in describing the request as unacceptable, said as a Muslim leader, Hadi needed to learn to have a sense of "tawadduk" (humility) and admit his mistake instead.
"Why would he want to set a condition to explain himself? If he is wrong, just admit it and he can do so without demanding for a live television slot," he said, adding that Hadi was sidestepping the issue by setting a condition to explain himself.
Harussani said Hadi should also repent as his message had caused disunity among Muslims in the country.
"He needs to repent and withdraw what he had said. By setting a condition, it shows how arrogant a person is."
Hadi had on Saturday said he was prepared to make himself clear on the issue if he was given the opportunity to do so over a local television station.
He had also said he was willing to prepare a written statement and dismissed claims that he was afraid to explain himself by keeping quiet on the issue.
Hadi has been under pressure from various quarters to withdraw his message for the sake of Malay unity.
Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, in response to Hadi's demand, had said that Hadi would be allowed to explain over Radio Television Malaysia (RTM), provided that he applied to the ministry.
Rais had also said RTM would only broadcast his statement if the contents was acceptable and Hadi must also allow others to give their views as well.
MCA national publicity bureau deputy chairman Loh Seng Kok said Hadi should call for a press conference instead.
"As a wakil rakyat, Hadi can call for a press conference or issue a statement. Any political leader can do this and clarify their stand on any issue," he said, adding that it would be up to the media to provide coverage.
Loh pointed out that it was inappropriate for one to ask for live television slot every time he wanted to make a statement or verify something.
"It is impossible for TV stations to always entertain such a request," he said, adding that TV stations should come up with certain guidelines on the matter.
Loh said Hadi, by holding a press conference, would have more than enough coverage from the media.
"Nobody will be able to say that his words have been twisted as they can cross-check his statement with other media organisations."
Pulai member of parliament Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said Hadi's demand if entertained would only serve to confuse the minds of younger generation.
MIC secretary-general Datuk S. Murugesan, in echoing the same sentiments, said he did not see a need for the live broadcasting.
"Whatever Hadi wants to say live is nothing that cannot be achieved through a press conference or by issuing a press statement."
Pas leaders, when contacted, declined to comment. Addtional reporting by Chuah Bee Kim