February 21, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s home minister on Monday issued a warning to all quarters to stop any activities that could incite chaos, following a controversial parade by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) members with fake weapons.
Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said strict action will be taken against any elements that could threaten public order and harmony.
“The parade, which went viral on social media, has caused public unease,” he said in a statement, pointing out that with the upcoming election in several states, the political temperature is currently raised.
“I request everyone to take into account sensitivities and remain responsible to avoid actions that could result in an even more heated situation.
“Any activity accompanied by symbols in the form of weapons or military (elements) is inappropriate and will certainly invite public unrest,” he said.
He also noted that the parade was shown on a video clip, with background “nasyid” music in Arabic that clearly emphasised a war theme, and questioned whether the parade was meant to “inject the spirit of war”.
For the parade, Terengganu PAS Youth members were clad in mediaeval Islamic war costumes and armed with fake swords, spears and shields.
Several pictures on social media showed a pickup truck carrying a giant fake sword on its cargo-bed.
There are attempts to hijack Islam with certain images and narratives by political parties like PIS/PAS to advance their narrow parochial political interest. At the same time misrepresenting Islam. As Muslims we cannot allow this. We need to provide the true narrative of Islam pic.twitter.com/kHscHSreoy
— Dr. Rais Hussin (@raishussin) February 19, 2023
Young people, clad in green-themed mediaeval militant costumes, were also seen standing on the back of the cargo-bed of a moving pickup truck.
It is understood that the march was part of a two-day PAS Youth gathering, Himpunan Pemuda Islam Terengganu.
The Terengganu police said they are investigating the march.
Agriculture and Food Security Mohamad Sabu said on Monday he is worried that enemies of the country could exploit the parade for their own gain, adding that he will raise the matter at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.
“We must not take this lightly. The PM is concerned. The Home Ministry must take swift action. This is dangerous (as) youngsters can be influenced,” he said.
Religious Affairs Minister Mohd Na’im Mokhtar has said the march was inappropriate, as it would give a bad perception of the teachings of Islam.
However, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the matter should not be blown out of proportion, adding that it was similar to a Chinese opera where the actors also carry fake swords and spears.
The Putrajaya PAS meanwhile, has likened the parade to a cosplay event, while an MP from the Islamist party, Mr Nasrudin Hassan, described criticism against the march as a form of Islamophobia.