Ego, fear of failure pushes PAS to open PM race 

(The Malaysian Insider) – The fear of losing Malay support or the status of being a senior member of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) appears to have driven PAS clerics to question Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s candidacy as prime minister should the coalition win federal power in Election 2013.


But not naming a credible choice for the country’s top elected post early could cost PR valuable votes from the 13.3 million eligible to cast their ballots in the country’s most closely-fought general election.

Both PR and Barisan Nasional (BN) officials have claimed they can win big in the polls which must held by this June for 222 federal seats and 505 seats in 12 states.

PR is confident of getting almost 140 seats while BN is sure of 145 seats in the federal parliament. Independent surveys show BN can win 117 seats to PR’s 105 seats, getting the ruling coalition a simple majority.

The key to victory appears to be getting the bulk of Malay votes. who form the majority of the country’s 28 million population although the minority Chinese and Indians have a say in urban seats.

But PAS clerics in the top policy-making Syura council fear that not having their man as a potential prime minister could cost the Islamist party to lose support among the Malay Muslims.

These cleric fear the loss of support and with that, PAS will just be a junior member of PR and unable to exert any influence, say party insiders and analysts on condition of anonymity.

“It is an ego trip to be considered for the PM”s post and the lack of such an opportunity is seen as a failure,” said a party insider.

While it is unclear if the majority of PAS felt the same way, the clerics are holding sway and conveyed their unease to Anwar last weekend through party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

“PAS top leaders said it was ‘haram’ (illegal) for Anwar to ask for the prime minister post,” a PR source told The Malaysian Insider on condition of anonymity.

“Then a top PKR leader replied that Anwar had never asked for the prime minister post, and that it was the people instead who called for it. This has also been agreed to by PAS and other parties like DAP since the 1999 general election,” the source added.

Anwar has remained silent about the meeting but it is clear that PKR officials and some within PAS are displeased this issue has cropped up and can affect their chances in Election 2013 especially with talk that Umno’s Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is touted as a possible choice for the top post if PR wins the elections.

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