PUTRAJAYA (Bernama) – The allegation that Barisan Nasional (BN) is using religious conservatives to stay in power is baseless, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said.
Khairy, who is also Youth and Sports Minister, said what BN did as the ruling party in the country were defending and upholding Islam and Syariah-compliant eastern values.
Speaking to reporters after opening a seminar on the Wasatiyyah approach at his ministry level here yesterday, Khairy said those who accused BN of using religious conservatives to stay in power were actually voicing out the opinions of extreme chauvinists and liberals that were inconsistent with the religion and Muslims’ way of life in the country.
Khairy said this in response to the remarks of Bukit Bendera member of Parliament Zairil Khir Johari of DAP who accused BN of using religious conservatives which, among others, aimed at ensuring that the Malays would remain dependent on the protection afforded by Putrajaya.
On Zairil’s argument that secularism and liberalism were actually philosophies which would strengthen Islam but were given a negative aspect by BN, Khairy said secularism could not be practised in Malaysia as Islam has been enshrined in the Federal Constitution as the religion of the federation.
“We are not France or Turkey which have not stated any religion as the official religion of the countries. So, we have to go back to the matter as stated in the Constitution,” he said.
In another development, Khairy stressed that Umno was the most open party in accepting criticisms from its members, including those made against its president, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also the prime minister.
“In Umno, we have never stopped anyone from criticising the party leadership. Even in delegates’ meetings or general assemblies, we have always been open in voicing out our opinions.
“…and I know the party president as a very open person and has never closed the doors for members to criticise and to give their opinions to him. So, the perception that we cannot make any criticism in Umno is not true,” he said.