Ulama as deputy chief: Nik Aziz was speaking in general, says Mat Sabu

(The Star) – PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu is unfazed by spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s apparent support for an ulama to be the party’s deputy president in the upcoming party election.

“You have to read the whole context of his statement. He was speaking in general and wasn’t referring to me or anyone,” Mohamad Sabu, popularly known as Mat Sabu, told The Star Online when contacted.

A Malay daily had reported on Saturday that Nik Aziz’s support was in addition to his backing of incumbent PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who is also an ulama, to retain his post.

Although the apparent backing did not look good for Mat Sabu, who isn’t an ulama, Mat Sabu maintained that there was no such thing as ulama or non-ulama in the party.

“In PAS, everyone is an ulama. It’s either you have more or less religious knowledge, that’s all,” he said.

Mat Sabu also said he would defend his position at the November party election.

Meanwhile, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad believed that Nik Aziz was quoted out of context.

“If you read the whole report, he also mentioned that everyone in PAS is qualified as an ulama, only the level of their religious knowledge may differ,” he said when contacted.

In the report, Nik Aziz also said he had his eyes on a possible candidate for the party’s deputy presidency but insisted it was the party that would decide who it would be.

His remarks came after Padang Serai PAS chief Fauzi Tahir said that he was prepared to challenge Hadi Awang for the party’s top post.