KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak vowed yesterday to use every means to protest against US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a tough stand likely to win him support among Muslim voters.
He has been embroiled in a graft scandal over a state-run fund and faced unprecedented criticism from former ruling party stalwarts, making the support of members of the Muslim, ethnic Malay majority vital in a general election next year.
"We will continue to fight on this issue, using every available means, through political and diplomatic channels, through discussion and prayer, until one day, God willing, Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinian people," Mr Najib told a rally of about 1,500 in Putrajaya.
He said he would not "sacrifice the sanctity of Islam" despite his friendship with Mr Trump. Mr Najib visited the White House in September.
"It is our first duty as Muslims to uphold the religion. If Jerusalem is a sacred land for Muslims, then it is upon us to free it from the grasp of Zionists," Mr Najib said.
Mr Najib and his ruling party have been burnishing their Islamic credentials with the aim of boosting their chances in the general election, which must be held by the middle of next year.
Mr Najib is hoping to win a third term despite the multi-billion dollar corruption scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad that has dogged his premiership for two years.
Malaysia was one of the 128 countries that defied Mr Trump on Thursday and voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for the US to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. - REUTERS
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now