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Friday, August 14, 2009

Nik Aziz's Stance Merely To Protect PAS-DAP Relations, Says Dr Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat's stance in not condemning DAP leaders for allegedly insulting Islam was just an excuse to protect relations between PAS and DAP.

"Nik Aziz said it's okay as they (DAP leaders) are not Muslims. (For him), non-Muslims can insult Islam, Muslims cannot do that. So, if we want to remain friends (with another), we should be good at making excuses," he told reporters after opening the Lat 1Malaysia Exhibition, here, Friday.

Nik Aziz, who is also Kelantan Menteri Besar, was recently reported to have said that he was not opposed to DAP leaders insulting Islam as DAP was a non-Islamic party and its leaders did not have a deep knowledge of Islam.

He instead blamed Muslim leaders for their attitude towards Islamic teachings to the extent that Islam's sanctity had been defiled by some non-Muslims.

Asked about Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi's suggestion that Umno set up a political studies school to produce leaders knowledgeable in politics, Dr Mahathir said in a light vein that all, including journalists, could join the school.

Asked about the Influenza A(H1N1) outbreak, Dr Mahathir said public awareness on the dangers of the contagious flu was still low.

He also said that the authorities should not resort to closing schools before considering various factors, as this (closing schools) was a serious matter because it would affect the students' lessons.

Earlier, in his opening speech at the exhibition featuring cartoons by Lat (Datuk Mohamed Nor Khalid), Dr Mahathir said he was happy that he had appeared in Lat's cartoons as they always brought him cheer.

"The cartoons poke fun at people without annoying them. It's a great honour to be in Lat's cartoons," he said.

The exhibition, featuring 60 cartoon drawings, runs from today until Aug 31 at the Bangsar Shopping Centre. It is organised with the cooperation of Bandar Raya Development Berhad (BRDB) and New Straits Time Press (M) Sdn Bhd (NSTP). -- BERNAMA

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