PAS-sing the leadership baton

The PAS election has ushered in new stars who will eventually replace the party’s ageing and ailing ulama.

But the big surprise was Salahuddin Ayub who again came in as the top VP with 917 votes against the 849 votes garnered by Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan.

Joceline Tan, The Star

DATUK Husam Musa has been under a great deal of pressure even though he has tried not to show it.

But the dam finally broke and his emotions bubbled to the surface when the Kelantan politician went on stage to make his speech as vice-president on the last day of the PAS muktamar.

At the end of one of his most fiery speeches ever, he paid tribute to Datuk Mahfuz Omar, the Pokok Sena MP whom he had beaten by only 16 votes.

He said that he won although he may not be as qualified as Mahfuz – and that was when his lips started to quiver and he almost broke down.

Husam’s political career has been rocky and he has been under severe attack in the last few months over issues such as his ambitious scheme to have a party headquarters in Putra­jaya.

Holding on to the VP post will provide him with some sort of lifeline.

The close finish between him and Mahfuz was the reason for the delayed announcement of the VP results.

There was a request for a recount and the results were only announced yesterday.

Husam had won by the skin of his teeth. He beat Mahfuz by only 16 votes.

But the big surprise was Salahuddin Ayub who again came in as the top VP with 917 votes against the 849 votes garnered by Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan.


This is Salahuddin’s crowning moment and shows that he is accepted by those from the ulama as well as the professional/activist groups.

He is now in a position to go for the deputy presidency, if he were ambitious.

When the newly re-elected deputy president Mohamad Sabu peers behind his shoulder, he will probably see Salahuddin rather than an ulama trying to overtake him.

It is a big win for Salahuddin considering the fact that he is no longer a YB, having lost in the last general election.

But he is a likeable personality, with what is known as typical Malay manners.

At the same time, Tuan Ibrahim’s future is quite assured. He is regarded as “president material” among the PAS hierarchy.

In fact, some of them say he may be the first person to become president without having to first pass through the deputy president’s post.

His winding-up speech said as much about what he is all about – a man whose priorities are less about posts and power and more about applying Islamic principles in politics.

His speech was full of episodes and lessons from the life of the Holy Prophet.

There are actually more senior and learned ulama than the hardline and stern-faced Tuan Ibrahim.

But unlike them, Tuan Ibrahim is younger, healthier and does not need to go about with a walking stick.

PAS’ top ulama names are ageing and sickly.

Mursyidul Am Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat only appeared for the opening ceremony.

However, he looked unwell and did not show up again after that.

Another leading ulama, Datuk Harun Taib, who is Dewan Ulama head, was absent on the final day.

His deputy Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed delivered the winding-up speech on behalf of the wing.

Harun does not like to deliver long speeches ever since he suffered a stroke several years ago.

But some suspected that Harun was peeved that Mat Sabu won again.

The ulama group was rooting for Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah but their prayers went unanswered.

Another big ulama star, Datuk Dr Haron Din, did not show up at all.

Dr Haron, who has a history of heart problems, is apparently unwell and in hospital.

Even the witty Permanent Speaker Datuk Abu Kassim Abdullah looked quite grey.

However, he was still full of pantun and jokes about PAS leaders with more than one wife.

Everyone burst into laughter when he teased their new Dungun MP: “Dungun pernah dimenangi, kali ini kita dapati. Isteri satu, anak satu, memang kita tak puas hati.

It was a gentle jibe at the MP’s slow progress in family and polygamous matters.

This has been such a controversial election year.

First there was the aggressive campaign that many were not comfortable about.

As recent as 10 years ago, campaigning was frowned upon and those going for posts did not canvass for votes.

There was also widespread dissatisfaction over the problem-ridden polls from the postponement of balloting for the central working committee (CWC) to the delayed results for the vice-presidents’ contest.

The PAS leadership had been adamant to avoid what happened at the DAP election last year but their own was even more problematic.

These people had better look at themselves before they attack the Election Commission again.

This has been a pivotal election.

It confirmed that the ulama voice no longer commands the attention it used to have.

Delegates rejected the ulama candidate for the No. 2 post as well as called for a review of the party’s partnership in Pakatan Rakyat.

The message they are sending is that they are alright with the inconsistencies of coalition politics.

It was also their way of telling the ulama circle that the party is not going to win Putrajaya if it keeps harping on issues like hudud law and the Islamic State.

The party that has once taken such great pride in being an Islamist party has become another mainstream party.