Loss of exco post: PAS not sore

Several PAS leaders say they agree with the MB’s decision and that Islam is not merely confined to a single exco post.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Former PAS strongman Dr Hasan Ali may continue his attacks against the party, but PAS seems to have moved on from the episode of his sacking and is now focused on the upcoming polls.

When FMT approached party leaders to comment on the recent loss of the Selangor religious affairs portfolio, they appeared to have accepted Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s decision which they said was made in a short period knowing that the general election was approaching.

PAS deputy state commissioner and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said the party was not disappointed with the MB as he was “forced” to make the decision.

“We are approaching the election, if you elect someone new into that portfolio, it will take them three to six months to learn the ropes. That is time we can’t spare.

“Secondly, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and Islamic Religious Council (Mais) are Umno strongholds. The previous exco man (Hasan) had trouble with the institutions on some matters even if he does not want to admit it

“A lot of ‘taichi-ing’ (maneuvering) has to be done in order get around Umno’s interference. So putting a new man into the lion’s den so close to the elections is not fair to him,” he said.

Last Wednesday, a minor reshuffle of the state’s executive council (exco) saw PAS losing the Islamic Affairs, Malay Customs, Infrastructure and Public Amenities portfolio previously held by Hasan.

The menteri besar announced that he would oversee the Islamic Affairs, Infrastructure and Public Amenities portfolio.

Hasan’s replacement, Sijangkang assemblyman, Dr Ahmad Yunus would hold the Malay Customs portfolio along with the Youth and Sports portfolio.

Many pro-Umno quarters, including the Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, played up the issue claiming that Khalid had lost trust in the Islamic party to oversee the portfolio.

Hasan had also taken his former party to task, saying that PAS’ silence over the reshuffle showed that the party had turned into a “yes man” to PKR.

‘We can explain to the youth’

However, Khalid begged to differ.

The Shah Alam MP claimed that the youth portfolio gave PAS the opportunity to explain its stand to the younger generation.

“Fifty percent of voters in Selangor are below 40. Being in charge of the portfolio, it gives us an opportunity to explain PAS to them and they can get to know the party better,” he said.

Another state leader, who did not want to be named, said that losing the portfolio did not mean that the party would not be involved in religious affairs of the state.

“Just because we are longer in control of the religious affairs portfolio does not mean that the party will not be consulted on issues concerning religious affairs. The MB will consult the party when a decision is being made. So we will still be involved in religious affairs,” he said.