PAS veterans fight back

(MM) – Some 1,300-odd delegates at PAS’s 59th general assembly tomorrow are being exposed to grievances and dissatisfaction of party members and leaders in dealing with issues within Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

They are also being exposed to how PAS members and leaders are treated by DAP in Penang, where the party is regarded as virtually non-existent.

The build-up of several issues of concern in the ties with PR, particularly against DAP chairman Karpal Singh who reportedly suggested the de-registration of political parties and NGOs based on religion and race and in Penang, against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for unnecessary interference and non-consultation on Islamic affairs seem to be just the tip of the many issues at hand.

With the resolution from the Ulama Council for delegates to debate the political cooperation with PR, the issues that have appeared in mainstream media and blogs are expected to take centre stage.

Events in the past week point to one thing — that veteran fundamentalists are now fighting back against the onslaught of the liberals.

Given the debate will be held only on Saturday, after the party election tomorrow afternoon, the fundamentalists need to “awaken” the delegates on why the party needs to review its ties in PR by highlighting problems faced in the media.

If debates are held before polling, the media must not be allowed to highlight such problems because all the ugly incidences will appear during debate and after that, the delegates can decide who to vote for.

Since this is not the case and the contest is considered intense where it involves the future path of the party, the fundamentalists do not want to see the party “hijacked” by liberals and its objectives shelved and replaced with new ones.

What’s worse is if the party  falls under the control of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is backed by the liberals in PAS but not favoured by the veteran fundamentalists.

While tomorrow’s poll will determine the party’s future path, an indication can be seen today when the result of the party Youth election is known.

The indication will possibly tell which faction will win, given that 60 per cent or around 700 of the 1,300 delegates tomorrow will be from the Youth wing.

The three-corner Youth chief contest will see an ulama-inclined Kamarulzaman Muhammad against liberals and professionals Suhaizan Kiat and Zulhazmi Shariff while for deputy chief, it is a straight fight between party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s son Mohd Khalil Abdul Hadi (pic) and professional Dr Raja Ahmad Iskandar Raja Yaakob.

If Kamarulzaman wins the Youth chief post and Mohd Khalil wins the deputy post, then tomorrow’s poll may see challenger Datuk Nik Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah unseating incumbent Mohamed Sabu for the deputy president post while for the vice-presidents, challenger Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man is expected to unseat the least favoured incumbent Salehuddin Ayub.

Datuk Abu Bakar Chik, a veteran fundamentalist whose era was alongside Abdul Hadi, the late Datuk Fadzil Nor, the late Yusof Rawa and also secretary-general Mustafa Ali, does not seem to have much  of a chance to be voted as vice-president because he has been “hibernating” too long in Terengganu.

The fundamentalists do not seem to have many candidates that can be placed against the young and professional liberals at the vice-presidency level, but it would suffice them to have the faction’s representatives at deputy president and one in the vice-president’s post.