PAS leaders come under fire from delegates

Sean Augustin and Azril Annuar,

Several delegates at the 59th PAS Muktamar today voiced their concerns and blasted the party leadership over various issues, including failure to step in during the Kedah PAS internal crisis and to raise issues concerning Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament.

Kedah delegate Nasir Zakaria criticised the party’s leadership for not stepping in when Kedah PAS faced an internal crisis in the months prior to the 13th General Election and hinted that the crisis was the reason the state was lost.

“We are aware that there are many voices in and out of PAS saying that this defeat must not be repeated. So like the other delegates, we call upon the Electoral Post Mortem Committee to reveal their findings.

“As for our loss of Kedah, there were internal factors leading to it. In a family, children will argue with each other and being kids they can never resolve some of the issues. It’s the duty of the parent to step in when things get out of control.

“A father must take quick action to stop things from escalating. Kedah does not want this kind of cancer (internal disputes) to topple another PAS led government. We don’t want our constituencies to come under siege (when we are internally weak),” said Nasir.

He also pointed out that to win or regain the rural Malay support, the party must fulfil five criteria, namely integrity, defend the faith, defend the Malay rulers, have local personalities, and show concern for the Malays and protect them.

“PAS only fulfils two criteria while Umno fulfils all five. We are known only for defending the faith and for our integrity. We need to reposition ourselves through greater political education, ” said Nasir.

‘Sabah, Sarawak important states’

Sabah delegate Datuk Ali Akbar Gulasan also criticised the party’s MPs for not taking up East Malaysia issues to Parliament.

“We have requested PAS MPs to speak up on our behalf and take up our issues to Parliament because we (Sabah and Sarawak PAS) don’t have any presence there.

“We require their assistance but we have never received any response,” he said.

Ali Akbar said PAS divisions in Sabah and Sarawak will receive more support if some of the party vice-presidents include Sabah and Sarawak in their portfolios.

“If you look at our opponent (Umno), they elect a Sabahan as one of their three vice-presidents. And BN has called Sabah and Sarawak as their fixed deposits.

“In this context, Sabah and Sarawak are very important states and PAS needs more strength to seize it from BN. Therefore, Sabah suggests that we divide the vice-presidents portfolios according to region, with Sabah and Sarawak being one region.

“Representatives from Sabah and Sarawak should also be part of the various Dewan and the Central Committee,” said Ali Akbar.

Module on party struggle for supporters club

Taman Templer assemblyman Zaidy Abdul Talib urged the PAS central leadership to come up with a module for its supporters club to foster better understanding among members.

While PAS is an Islamist party, its supporters club comprises comprise non-Muslim members.

A “black and white” syllabus, Zaidy said, would not only help explain the party’s struggle to non-Muslims but also help them understand the Islamic perspective better.

Currently, non-Muslims learnt about Islam through their experiences and interactions with the Muslim community, he said.

“The module would contain ‘dos and don’ts’ and list down the sensitivities of the various communities in Malaysia.

“The booklet can be distributed to everyone in the party to give a clearer picture about the brand of Islam practiced by PAS,” Zaidy said when met by reporters after debating President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s keynote address this morning.

Zaidy also said the party should increase their engagement with NGOs whose cause mirrors the PAS’ struggle, such as human rights of which he said was also found in Islam.

He had earlier cited the party’s support for electoral reform group Bersih, which saw a multi-racial and religious participation

PAS, Zaidy said, can help increase support for the party if such initiatives were implemented.