Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (seated, centre) at a press conference at Petaling Jaya today. EPA-EFE Photo

PETALING JAYA: The verbal war between elder politicians Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has heated up ahead of the national polls with the former equating the latter to a “rural ustaz”.

In retaliating against Hadi’s call for Dr Mahathir to return to his medical profession, the former prime minister in caustic tone said the Pas president should teach religion in village schools instead of being a politician.

(Hadi is also a vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.)

“Hadi should not have joined politics. He should be an ustaz, teach in villages. (This would) suit him well.

“He does not know anything in politics, what more about running an administration? Look at what happened in Terengganu (when Pas took over the state administration in 1999 and Hadi became its menteri besar),” Dr Mahathir told reporters after a meeting with DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara leaders.

(File pix) Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (standing, second from right). Pix by L. Manimaran

Hadi had, in Penang, said Dr Mahathir should quit politics and join Klinik 1Malaysia established under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.

Dr Mahathir, who is also the opposition pact pro-tem chairman, said as an ustaz, Hadi should endeavour to teach “real” Islam, and not a school of thought which was bent on labeling others “infidels”.

“If he does not know much about Islam, then I can refer him to the Quran. Labeling others infidels is prohibited in Islam. If he is good enough, then we will give him a post as a lecturer in an Islamic university.”

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