Battle royal looms in PAS
PETALING JAYA: A battle royal is looming between the progressives and the conservatives in PAS over the deputy president’s post.
Incumbent Nasharudin Mat Isa is likely to be challenged by ultra-conservative Datuk Harun Taib, who heads the Dewan Ulama wing of PAS, at the party election next month.
Harun, who hails from Terengganu, has been nominated by more than half of the 15 divisions in Kedah. He has also received a few nominations from Kelantan, Pahang, Penang and Malacca.
Nasharudin, when contacted, described the development as part of the democracy that the party practises.
“The post is open for contest and it is the right of members to nominate one, two or three candidates for the post,” he said. But he confirmed that he would be defending his post.
The party polls will take place at the annual muktamar or delegates' assembly in Kota Baru from June 1 to 3.
Kedah PAS chief Azizan Abdul Razak said the divisions had a free hand to nominate anyone.
“We cannot stop them like in other parties. The deputy president post is very important because it is about who will lead PAS in the future,” said Azizan.
The potential fight for the deputy president post reflects the political divide between the progressive and conservative segments of PAS.
Nasharudin, 46, who is a former Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer, represents the younger and progressive group of ulama. He is credited with giving PAS a more contemporary image and encouraging leaders to engage with other groups.
He was also instrumental in establishing a multi-million ringgit party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Harun, 64, an aloof but intellectual ulama, represents an earlier era of PAS and is known to be critical about things ranging from the PAS concert featuring Mawi to working with other political parties in the polls.
The last party election in 2005 saw the young Turks win in a big way.
A sore point among the conservatives in the last polls was that all the three vice-president posts were won by non-ulama, namely Datuk Husam Musa, Mohamad Sabu and Datuk Dr Hassan Ali. thestaronline