Saturday, June 6, 2009

Post-PAS general assembly: PAS for Ulamas only?

So finally the results are out. The so-called progressives and reformists in PAS have found themselves voted out by the conservatives in PAS. Young leaders like Husam Musa and Khalid Samad, who are known to non-Muslims, have been voted out.

Despite their moderate stance, such as Khalid Samad's regular appearance at church-organised forums, he has never represented the real PAS stand. Husam, who lost in his attempt for the number two post, obviously took the defeat badly telling reporters "maybe my beard wasn't long enough."

His contender, Nasharudin Mat Isa, quickly defended his party boss, Hadi Awang, for the proposed unity talk, which some see as an attempt to work with Umno. Some envisage a unity government. Interestingly, Husam has said that he knew a lot of what was happening. We would certainly like to hear more about it.

The only exception was Nizar Jamaluddin, who garnered the highest votes for the central committee posts. Nizar's moderate and progressive approach has endeared himself not only to Perakians but also others, and the delegates must have wanted to give him a vote of confidence amidst the tumultuos time he is going through.

The so-called moderate face of PAS was overshadowed by some delegates who complained about the mingling of male and female reporters at the general assembly, with one describing such act as "pesta maksiat" and demanded that women reporters cover their heads. This is the real PAS.

The powerful theologians were obviously uncomfortable with the experiments of the younger leaders and in the end, they tightened their hold on the party. Even the hardliners won the Youth wing. The pro-ulama group almost had a clean slate. It is clear that the older delegates were uneasy with the way some young PAS leaders had push the party too far in its programmes with the DAP and PKR.

For Hadi Awang, he has always eyed the jewel in the crown. The Prime Minister's post, if ever the Pakatan Rakyat, takes over the federal government has to be his and not Anwar Ibrahim. The uneasy relationship between Anwar and Hadi is well known among the political and media circle. As with most politicians, it is all about power and positions eventually.

The voice of conservative PAS would now be louder with those in turbans and flowing robes dominating the party leadership. The results have showed that Hadi is the man in PAS, not spiritual leader Nik Aziz. His men were all wiped out in the race, certainly a big blow to the well-respected leader.

There would probably be changes in the relations between PAS and its partners in Pakatan. Nasharudin made clear, after his victory, that the doors for talks with Umno was opened. For added measure, he said the same principle was applicable with other parties and non-governmental organisations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The moderates in PAS were not united, and fielded two candidates, causing split votes. Husam and Sabu should have compromised and put up only one candidate, and they could have won, since their total votes were more than Nas' votes. Nas still need to watch his step, as he does not have a majority support with in PAS.