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Ghost-Buster Works His Magic
By: RSS/News FeedsHungZai Team

PAS supporters hope that popular cleric can bring back lost votes
By Reme Ahmad ….Malaysia Bureau Chief March 19, 2005 STRAITS TIMES

WELL-LIKED FIGURE: Datuk Haron, 65, has wide grassroots appeal. Even Umno leaders have been known to seek out the cleric’s cures.

KUALA LUMPUR – LIKE most politicians, Datuk Haron Din is rarely without a contribution when it comes to discussion or debate.

But the senior Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) leader has a major advantage over the others – who are mainly restricted to politics, religion and similar mainstream topics – because he is a real-life ghost-buster.

If someone is interested, the cleric is always ready to tell how he has personally exorcised spirits from someone’s body or home.

‘When there are unseen creatures in a body, a house or a tree, we ask them to move to another place through prayer,’ he said in an interview with The Straits Times.

‘No, I am not a bomoh (witch doctor in Malay) because that is associated with black magic.

‘I do not slaughter chickens or serve eggs to these creatures like bomohs. What I do is Islamic healing using Quranic verses.’

The 65-year-old is one of the country’s most popular clerics.

Even Umno leaders have been known to seek out his cures, and stories abound of government agencies asking him to exorcise spirits from their buildings.

Datuk Haron is the deputy spiritual leader of PAS and its information chief. But he now has the support of some within the party to become its deputy president when leadership elections take place in June.

His unusual sideline goes back 22 years to when the former university lecturer started his Darussyifa (Arabic for house of remedy) clinic, following in the footsteps of his faith-healer father Lebai Din Awang.

‘I grew up seeing my father curing sick people. I looked up to him like he had superpowers and asked him to teach me,’ he said.

Datuk Haron’s speciality has brought him great success, as hundreds of people attend his weekly clinic sessions.

His patients include people who have been ‘infected with spirits’, those with strange diseases and some who want help to stop husbands from straying, he said.

Former patients say one of his main cures is to have them imbibe ‘blessed water’, which is plain water that has had prayers read over it.

His clinic is situated in a three-storey bungalow about 45 minutes south of Kuala Lumpur.

His spiritual beliefs – which some might deride as mumbo jumbo – have rarely been seized upon by opponents to attack him in the no-holds-barred world of politics.

The cleric has remained popular even with staunch Umno supporters, and the only notable criticism of him came from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former premier asked why Datuk Haron ‘ran’ overseas for a heart operation when his blessed water supposedly had healing powers.

Now, with PAS much weakened after last year’s general election, it seems that many members hope that Datuk Haron can use his magic to bring back lost votes.

Although it is Malaysia’s biggest opposition party with 800,000 members, PAS now has only six seats in Parliament, down from 27 after the 1999 elections.

PAS lost the Terengganu state assembly to Umno-led Barisan Nasional last year, and barely clung to power in Kelantan.

So while the party faithfuls want to retain stern cleric Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as president, some support media-friendly Datuk Haron to become No. 2 in place of current deputy president Hassan Shukri, a low-profile Selangor cleric who shuns the media and refused to take part in last year’s general election.

That Datuk Haron is among the most popular PAS leaders to give opening addresses at party divisions’ meetings is a good gauge of his grassroots support.

He contested and lost against a Perlis prince in the 2004 polls.

But he has made it clear that he believes top PAS posts should be decided by consensus, not through contests.

‘My stand has never changed. I am not keen to hold a post if someone else wants it,’ he said.

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