(Apr 30): In the heart of Kota Baru, the capital of Kelantan, lies what was known as Medan Ilmu (Knowledge Square) — a network of squeaky-clean alleys, adorned by mural art, that make up a street market.

Every Friday morning, the square hosts lectures by state leaders on religious and poli-tical matters. The sermons have a nostalgic connection to the late Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who started the practice even before he became the Kelantan Menteri Besar in 1990.

When Barisan Nasional (BN) state chairman Mustapa Mohamed renamed the site Dataran Tok Pa (after his own nickname) earlier this month, the PAS government was heavily criti-cised for selling out the well-loved leader’s memory. Critics pounced on claims that the state had received a RM450,000 ($152,654) federal government grant to upgrade the site.

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