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TJ KB STS: Politik Semasa Umrah
By Joceline Tan

28/2/2001 9:29 pm Wed

Terjemahan Ringkas

Mengapa Md Taib menjadi kontroversi?

Ia berlaku ketika beliau menunaikan Umrah dan bertembung dengan Azmin. Semasa berbual Md Taib mengkritik Umno dan kepimpinannya kerana kehilangan sokongan orang melayu.

Apabila Azmin menceritakan kisah itu dalam ceramah-ceramah Md Taib tidak senang hati. Beliau menafikan perbualan itu, malah mahu mencabar Azmin agar mengangkat sumpah dimasjid dengan kata-katanya itu,

Sejak krisis Mahathir memecat Anwar, peniaga Mekah juga turut mengikuti perkembangan semasa. Dulu mereka memberi simbul ibu jari keatas kepada Mahathir Anwar tetapi selepas krisis mereka menunjukkan simbul ibu jari ke atas untuk Anwar sahaja sedang Mahathir mendapat simbul ibu jari kebawah.

Azmin memberitahu akhbar beliau, Ezam dan Md Taib menaiki penerbangan yang sama ke Saudi Arabia.

Kisah ini menggambarkan seseorang telah berbohong kerana takutkan sesuatu yang menjerut dirinya. Tidak perlu saya menuduh sesiapa kerana para pembaca sudah tahu jawapannya. Pemimpin Umno lebih takut kemurkaan Mahathir daripada kemurkaan tuhan yang sebenarnya. Umrahpun gagal mereformasikan diri mereka kerana mereka kesana untuk mendapat benda lain agaknya.

Rencana Rujukkan: 0,1870,26063-983224740,00.html

Politics not far behind even on pilgrimage

An alleged conversation between politicians of two different parties in far-off Saudi Arabia has led to a controversy back in Malaysia

By Joceline Tan


WHEN top Umno leader Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib flew to Mecca to perform the umrah, or the minor pilgrimage, little did he know that he was headed into another controversy.

While in Mecca on the pilgrimage, he bumped into Mr Azmin Ali, a leading politician in the opposition Parti Keadilan.

An alleged conversation that took place between them is now a hot political issue.

Mr Azmin has alleged at several public political gatherings that, during the conversation, Tan Sri Muhammad criticised Umno and blamed the leadership for the loss of support among Malays.

The incident has, understandably, put Tan Sri Muhammad in a pickle. He is, after all, vice-president of Umno and head of the powerful Selangor Umno body.

He has since issued several denials and accused Mr Azmin of ill-intentions and challenged him to take an oath in the mosque over the issue.

Tan Sri Muhammad's predicament is hardly new.

Politics and religion make for a powerful combination in Malaysia and it would appear that some Malay politicians find it hard to leave their politics at home even when they go to Mecca.

Malay politicians are among the regular pilgrims to Mecca and some go for the umrah at least once or even twice a year.

'When we go for the umrah, we spend a lot of time praying, after which we eat, rest or talk. And being politicians, we tend to talk about politics,' said Mohd Alwi Che Ahmad, an Umno politician from Kelantan.

It is well known that Malay politicians tend to go to Mecca when they are about to make important political decisions or during times of political crisis.

Umno politicians have also been known to sponsor supporters for trips to Mecca during party election years.

Most Malaysian pilgrims move around in groups, identified by the Malaysian flag.

But often, pilgrims aligned to PAS prefer to put up their party flag, a white moon against a green background.

PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang once said in an interview that he was rarely able to visit Mecca just for the umrah because he was often deluged with invitations from students and residents there to give lectures and sermons.

Even the ethnic shopkeepers in Mecca and Medina have become familiar with Malaysian politics.

Malaysian pilgrims report that, before the Anwar Ibrahim crisis, shopkeepers there would give the thumbs-up to first, Malaysia, then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his former deputy.

They complain the shopkeepers now show the thumbs-down to Dr Mahathir and the thumbs-up to his jailed deputy.

The pro-Anwar faction exploited the pilgrimage to the hilt shortly after he was ousted.

Websites linked to the sacked politician carried outrageous - and largely unfounded - stories of how certain Umno leaders had suffered debilitating illnesses such as heart attacks, paralysis and skin diseases while they were abroad.

Mr Mohd Alwi said politicians from different camps often found themselves talking like old friends when they are in Mecca.

'It's the spirit of Muslim brotherhood,' he said.

Mr Azmin told The Straits Times that he, Keadilan Youth leader Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor and Tan Sri Muhammad were on the same flight to Saudi Arabia.

On landing, they broke fast together and had a long conversation.

The next day, the three of them got together again to break fast at the apartment of a friend in Medina.

Thus, the latest incident involving Tan Sri Muhammad and Mr Azmin seems but another chapter in the ongoing saga of Malay politics conducted in Mecca.