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Date: 06 Dec 1999
Malaysian non-Muslims need not fear Islamic government: Wan Azizah
PERMATANG PAUH, Malaysia, Dec 4 (AFP) - Non-Muslims in a northeastern state have nothing to fear from their new Islamic party rulers, the head of another party in Malaysia's opposition alliance said Saturday.
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, wife of jailed ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim and head of the National Justice Party (Keadilan), said her party would support any effort by the new PAS government in Terengganu state to improve the lot of the people.
These efforts, she said, included curbing gambling, vice and alcoholic consumption by Muslims.
"The state government knows what is good for the people, especially Muslims in the state," Wan Azizah told reporters.
"Anyway, the people of Terengganu have already given PAS (Parti Islam SeMalaysia) the mandate to lead them. As such, we support any efforts by the state government to improve the lives of the people there."
Wan Azizah was in this constituency in the northern state of Penang to organise a thanksgiving party for about 1,000 party members and supporters. She captured her husband's old seat here in Monday's parliamentary and state assembly elections.
Anwar is serving six years for abusing his official powers while in office but says he is the victim of a top-level political conspiracy.
PAS and Keadilan are members of the Alternative Front, along with the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party and the Malaysian People's Party.
The DAP earlier Saturday warned PAS not to restrict the rights of non-Muslims in Terengganu or in Kelantan, which it already controlled before the election. It said "continued cooperation" in the Alternative Front hinged on this.
Wan Azizah was asked to comment on Wednesday's announcement by the new Terengganu chief minister, Abdul Hadi Awang, that strict Islamic values would be implemented such as banning gambling and curbing alcohol sales.
She said non-Muslims had nothing to fear over Abdul Hadi's plan since they would still be free to gamble or consume alcohol.
Abdul Hadi's plans were within the Alternative Front's joint manifesto, she said, adding that his other social welfare proposals had been overlooked by the media.