Last Tuesday, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail urged political parties to refrain from campaigning using the 3Rs.
“Any 3R campaigns by those with religious stature can influence the conservative Muslim communities,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times (NST).
Earlier, Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin stressed that the coalition will not touch on 3R issues to garner support in the upcoming state elections.
According to local media, PN had previously been accused of using racial rhetoric in its campaign in order to consolidate support among the Malay-Muslim majority.
Responding to the accusations, Muhyiddin last month denied that this was the case, saying that the coalition will instead focus on issues important to the people such as the cost of living.
“Our agenda has been very clear. We’re not focusing on this (rhetoric). We are focusing on what is often important to the people, especially in this situation now where most voters feel that the present unity government has not done much. In fact, many have said they have failed,” said Muhyiddin.
PN, which consists of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan), are currently the opposition in the federal government.
A recent study found that PAS and its president Abdul Hadi Awang played up racial rhetoric the most during the 15th General Election (GE15) in November last year.
The report, published by Malaysia’s Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), said PAS and Mr Abdul Hadi were the “biggest amplifiers of race”.
For example, the report pointed out that Mr Abdul Hadi’s TikTok post claiming that PH’s Chinese-based DAP was merely using Malay candidates to gain voter traction racked up 2.5 million engagement counts – the highest across all social media platforms.
The states set to hold their elections are Kedah, Penang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan and Terengganu. All six states have dissolved their state assemblies, according to local media.
On Monday, the Election Commission of Malaysia announced that it will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the important dates for the state polls, including the voting date.
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