Mat Sabu keeps PAS deputy hat, but clerics gain on Erdogans

(MM) – Incumbent PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu beat challenger Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah to keep his seat in party polls today, but the Islamists party’s conservative clerics, better known as the ulama faction, gained more muscle within its central leadership.

The Penang-born popularly known as Mat Sabu won by a slim 98-vote margin, scoring 588 out of 1,086 votes against Mohd Amar’s 490 votes. “When the result was announced just now, I did not celebrate because it was just a friendly fight.”

We’re not like in our rival party, where you have to spend RM1 million to win the post,” Mat Sabu told a press conference after the results were announced. 

He did not name the rival party.

“It was just a common fight, we are still under one party and one congregation,” he added.

The former activist also explained that the slim majority meant nothing to him, conceding that he would not have been perturbed even if it was in the single digit.

More candidates seen to be aligned to PAS’s influential ulama faction — who make up the opposition party’s soul — were also voted into the party’s central working committee, including the entry of the Youth wing’s two former top leaders, Nasruddin Hassan and Nik Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz.

Their numbers now match the candidates seen as representing PAS’ progressives, nicknamed the Erdogans, after three-term Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, popularly known for his economic reforms.
The results for vice-president posts are however still undergoing a recount, signalling a close battle between the three incumbents and their two challengers.

PAS Central Election Committee chairman Asmuni Awi revealed that the results were too close to call, with all five candidates in a neck-to-neck fight.

He also explained that the recount will be finished by tonight, but the results will only be announced tomorrow morning.