What Happened In Terengganu Where PAS Members Marched With Fake Swords & Spears?
Over the weekend, photos and videos showed PAS members — dressed in body armour like warriors — marching in Terengganu with replicas of weapons such as swords, shields, and bows and arrows
The march occurred on Friday, 17 February, in Setiu, at the start of the two-day PAS Youth gathering, Himpunan Pemuda Islam Terengganu (HIMPIT), reported Free Malaysia Today yesterday, 19 February.
"You know that the Terengganu election is near, so they want to create momentum. The uniforms they wore were part of the programme," PAS public relations officer Mohd Shahir Abu Hassan told The Vibes.
The sight of PAS members dressed as warriors has prompted questions about the party's agenda behind organising such an event
According to New Straits Times, in one of the videos showing the march, PAS Youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari is heard congratulating — while clenching his fist — all those who attended the event.
Fadhli, however, said that he was only invited for the event's launch and was unaware of the march held by his party's Terengganu youth wing with his own party members dressed like warriors.
"I just saw the pictures [...] and I find it strange," Free Malaysia Today quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na'im Mokhtar called out the controversial parade for being callous with their choice of outfits and portrayal of Islam.
According to Mohd Na'im, choosing to use Islamic symbols caused members of the public to raise their concerns that the parade could cause racial disharmony, reported Malay Mail.
"To march in that manner was wrong and gives people a bad impression of the country and Islam," he said, adding that any actions that can cause public unrest must be avoided at all costs.
One of the videos posted on TikTok showed the members reportedly marching to music containing the words "death to the infidels"
The video posted on TikTok also carried the platform's safety warning label that read, "participating in this activity could result in you or others getting hurt."
According to The Vibes, PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang was present at the event.
There were also children present at the event, which included other activities such as football and sepak takraw matches, and a convoy of motorcycles carrying PAS flags, Free Malaysia Today reported.
The march caused distress among the public, following which police have said that they are investigating if any offences were committed
Terengganu police chief DCP Datuk Rohaimi Md Isa said that while PAS had informed them about the event, they were not notified about the controversial parade taking place with replicas of weapons.
"We were not informed about the parade with replicas of weapons, which has caused uneasiness and concerns among the public. An investigation will be carried out to identify any offences in the programme and appropriate action will be taken," Rohaimi said in a statement yesterday.
Amidst the police investigation, several PAS leaders have come out to defend the march by likening it to cosplay events and Chinese opera
Terengganu PAS Youth wing chief Harun Esa claimed the march was like "cosplay parades".
"The event is similar to the 'cosplay' parades and competitions that are held all over the country showing their favourite superheroes and their weapons," Harun wrote on his Facebook page.
According to him, the parade was not intended to incite violence, adding that it was very interesting to see the creativity of the representatives of the youth groups in the area displaying their respective ideas.
He said that other groups represented sports themes and even rode horses at the HIMPIT event.
Meanwhile, the Islamist party's deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, defending the parade, claimed the parade was similar to "a Chinese opera where the actors also carry swords and spears".
"There is no issue here. It is better for us to focus our time and energy on more meaningful things such as tackling the rising cost of living, education, and social problems," he said, adding that "detractors" should not try to portray the party in a "negative light" based on "one or two pictures" on social media.
"Maybe this is just their way of trying to deflect from the real issues at hand," he said without elaborating.