Rebel PAS leader continues to receive flak over his stand

(The Star) – PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali has stepped up the attacks against rebel Selangor party leader Datuk Dr Hasan Ali, who has been widely speculated to be leaving the party.

Mustafa chided the Selangor state executive councillor, saying the latter’s stand on certain matters created the impression that he was going against the tide to defend Islam.

“By saying that he is making such and such a stand in defence of Islam, he has created the perception that PAS is no longer defending Islam,” he said in an interview yesterday.

Mustafa said this in response to growing discontent within the party against the 64-year-old Dr Hasan.

The secretary-general said PAS leaders who behaved in such manner had “obviously taken Umno’s bait” to weaken the Islamist party.

He also hit out at Dr Hasan for allegedly offering to mediate unity talks between Umno and PAS, pointing out:

“He should know the party’s stand on the matter. It was decided at the PAS muktamar that unity talks are off.”

Mustafa also shrugged off as a non-issue claims in the media that Dr Hasan would not be fielded in the next general election because he had failed to secure enough nominations from PAS members to defend his Gombak Setia state seat.

The PAS central leadership would decide on who the potential candidates would be, he added.

In an immediate response, Dr Hasan said he would explain all during a press conference on Monday.

“I will clear the air soon. I will explain everything. I will address the matter properly and put things in the right perspective,” he said.

Dr Hasan also said he had no plans to quit PAS to join Umno.

PAS central committee member Khalid Samad expressed hope that Dr Hasan would not leave the party. However, he urged Dr Hasan to learn to work as a team member.

“He should stick to collective decisions,” Khalid said.

Former PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa also came under heavy criticism for allegedly propagating PAS-Umno unity.

“I do not know why I am being dragged into it again. I have been very busy with family matters in recent days,” he said.

As a Selangor state executive councillor, Dr Hasan has had numerous run-ins with his party and Pakatan Rakyat colleagues, being blamed for the controversial anti-proselytisation inspection at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church in August.

He also stirred a hornet’s nest by claiming that “solar-powered talking bibles” were being used to convert Muslims to Christianity and for his failed attempt at banning the sale of alcoholic beverages at 24-hour convenience stores.

Dr Hasan nevertheless continues to command support, especially from among the party grassroots. Most notable is PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Hassan, who views Dr Hasan as an eminent defender of Islam, Malays and the royal institution.

It was reported on Thursday that there was a widening rift between Dr Hasan and top PAS leaders after talk emerged that he would not be fielded as an election candidate.