PAS Youth gathers in preparation to replace Umno

By Shanon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — PAS Youth hopes to gather 30,000 members next Saturday to prepare and signal its readiness to take over from Umno as the dominant Malay party in the next general election.

Its youth chief Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi said a gathering called “Masa untuk Berubah: PAS Sedia Ganti Umno” (Time to Change: PAS ready to replace Umno) will be held in Kedah to outline specific “duties, regulations and orders” to capture what the movement believes will be the rise of the young in the impending polls.

“This gathering will take place just a week after the world saw the young generation in Egypt rise up to bring down Hosni Mubarak’s regime that was in power for 30 years,” said Nasrudin, referring to the Egyptian president who stepped down on Friday.

“I believe the same spirit and awareness will reach our country’s youth who will rise up to replace Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) who have ruled for 50 years and give its mandate to PAS and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the next general election,” he added.

Top party leaders including spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang will attend the meet where Nasrudin is scheduled to give the keynote address to PAS Youth members on “the duty of our struggle as well as regulations and order specifically to face the rising wave of youth towards winning the 13th general election.”

The event will be key to PR’s hopes in an election that is speculated to be called this year by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as the pact relies heavily on PAS’s election machinery to reach Malay voters that make up two-thirds of the electorate.

The opposition pact has suffered a loss of Malay support since July 2009’s Manek Urai by-election and PAS, which is chiefly in charge of winning Malay votes, has stepped up its efforts to reverse the swing towards Umno.

It will also be holding a convention next week to outline its guarantees to Malays should PR take federal power, including plans to increase the income of those earning RM1,500 or less a month, 73 per cent of whom are Bumiputeras.