The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) today said that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's 'Malay-Muslims only' cabinet assertion goes against the Federal Constitution.
In a statement, the council reminded PAS that the supreme law of the land was the Federal Constitution - which means it has higher validity than any other rules or laws, including Hadi's suggestion for an administrative structure based on Islamic jurisprudence.
"The constitution was enacted to protect and provide for all Malaysians and does not impose any requirement of race or religion for the appointment of members of the executive branch of the government. Article 43(2) governs such appointments.
"Secularism is the cornerstone of the harmonious living for all Malaysians. Lest we overlook that many Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, fought the insurgence of the communists and risked their lives defending the sovereignty of the country.
"The road to independence too, was made possible through the collaboration of all races," said the council, adding that the growth and development of the country were also attributable to the hard work of all Malaysians.
This diversity must be embraced, according to MCCBCHST, further urging PAS to heed the call and contribute to developing the nation towards a more cohesive society, instead of spurring rhetoric that harms the fabric of the nation.
Hadi, in an opinion piece in Harakah Daily last Friday, said the role of non-Muslims in the cabinet should be limited.
He added that the cabinet should exclusively comprise Malays, with non-Muslim members playing a limited role.
Several PAS leaders have claimed that Hadi's statement has been misreported and that Hadi had merely meant Islam was open to having non-Muslims involved in "wizarah al-tanfidz" (implementation).