Despite calls to reconsider, PAS president to drop out of polls

(The Malaysian Insider) – Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has insisted he will not run in the upcoming general election despite earlier reports that PAS had convinced its president to defend his seats.

In an interview with the Sunday Star published today, Abdul Hadi said he will withdraw after finding the best candidates to take over the Marang federal and Rhu Rendang state constituencies which he now holds. 

Referring to PAS top brass, Abdul Hadi said, “If they do not like candidates I propose, I will go on looking. I am personally handling this task and will continue until they agree to let me go.” 

He added it was time for him to slow down from politics and hoped the party and PR partners would appreciate his contributions as assemblyman the last 30 years. 

“I am fatigued. As president, I also have to travel the length and breadth of the country. As an elected representative, I have to visit my kawasan (constituency), too,” he was quoted as saying by the English daily’s weekend edition. 

“Because I have to be away from Terengganu on most days, I feel I have been neglecting my constituents. So it is best that others take over from me,” he added. 

Despite suggestions to defend at least one of the seats, Abdul Hadi said he preferred to sit out of the polls altogether. 

“I wish to be allowed to fully focus on party affairs,” he said, adding he would still remain as party president. 

Abdul Hadi had said in January he did not want to contest in the next general election that must be called by May next year. 

However, the party’s political bureau had rejected this suggestion on February 2. 

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also called on the former Terengganu mentri besar to change his mind, saying that the latter is crucial to both PAS and Pakatan Rakyat (PR). 

But Abdul Hadi then announced in March he is not a Terengganu mentri besar candidate for PAS and will not contest a state seat there in upcoming polls. 

Umno had been quick to capitalise on Abdul Hadi’s announcement, calling it a sign of an internal crisis within the Islamic party.