PPBM recruits popular religious scholar in bid to burnish religious credentials

BY RAM ANAND
Geopolitical expert Azmi Hassan said the recruitment of popular religious scholar Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin (pic) would benefit PPBM by helping it gain supporters since it seemed to lack religious credentials. — Picture courtesy of Facebook/Ustaz Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — In a bid to counter Umno and PAS’s narrative on Islam, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) has recruited religious scholar Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin.

The 29-year-old joined PPBM as a life member and has been appointed as the Deputy chair of the party’s Strategy and Policy Bureau, while being attached to the Klang branch of the 18-month old party.

With a general election due in the next six months, both Umno and PAS have used the narrative of defending Islam and Malays in an attempt to shore up their support base and defeat the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition.

Abu Hafiz is seen as a crucial recruitment would be “lead” the party’s narratives on Islam, PPBM supreme council member Datuk Dr Rais Hussin said today.

The scholar, who has over 4,000 followers at his own Facebook page, is pursuing his doctorate in Islamic Studies and Thought at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

“I realised that I need to contribute something, because religion is now being used to justify the behaviour of some people,” Abu Hafiz said.

“I want to correct this situation by giving ideas which are according to my own academic experience- to ensure that the Islamic narrative is not abused for the benefit of some people,” he added.

Abu Hafiz in particular took exception to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang claiming PH naming their Prime Minister candidate early was not in accordance to Islamic teachings.

“He did not give this opinion when the Dewan Ulama of PAS nominated him as PM back in 2012,” he said.

“It also a known fact that PAS wanted to nominate Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as PM candidate before the 13th general elections,” he added.

Abu Hafiz also said that he was prepared to face the risks of his academic opinions being interpreted as political opinions as a result of him joining PPBM.

“I take this as a new challenge for myself so I can provide justice for Malaysians and to PPBM,” he added.