Jun 22: Despite being warned not to deprive thousands of Muslims of their votes by holding general election when they are away during the Hajj season, prime minister Najib Razak seems bent on doing exactly that.
"In our history we have conducted general elections during the haj season," said Najib as quoted by MCA-controlled daily The Star, fuelling speculation that elections would be called to coincide with the Hajj season.
was believed to be referring to the 1986 general election on August 3,
two weeks before Hari Raya Haji, when many Muslims were already in
Makkah and Madinah.
This year's Hajj falls at the end of October,
but thousands of Malaysian pilgrims would be leaving for the Holy Lands
weeks earlier and are expected to return only a month after the Hajj is
Prior to this, PAS leaders warned Najib against holding
elections during the Hajj, saying it would deprive thousands of Muslims
of their right to vote.
PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu said
Najib should be answerable for placing difficulty to people who have to
fulfill their religious obligation if general election during the Hajj
But Najib defended polls during this time, arguing that he was not stopping anyone from performing the Hajj.
God decides on sins and blessings. We are not stopping anyone... if you
want to go for Haj, go,” news portal The Malaysian Insider quoted him
Sensing that polls would be called during Hajj, PAS
information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has urged members directly
involved in the polls, including candidates, their representatives and
election directors, to postpone their Hajj trip if election was called
during that time. This led to accusations in the UMNO media that PAS was
placing politics above Islamic obligations.
But many Muslim
leaders have explained that while Hajj was obligatory, Islam has a set
of other priorities including the obligation to choose a responsible
PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan has hit out at
suggestions that the party was disallowing members from performing the
pilgrimage, saying the onus was on BN.
"The government is urging
people to vote, so which one is it? To vote or to perform the Hajj? It's
simple, if you want them do both, then don't have them at the same
time!" he said.