It is a Pakatan state government, PAS tells DAP Penang

Nasharuddin Hassan Tantawi

(The Heat Online) – The DAP-led Penang state government has ordered PAS members to vacate 200 positions in its administration after the collapse of Pakatan Rakyat earlier this month.

Apart from former PAS deputy president, Mohamed Sabu, and ex-Penang PAS deputy commissioner, Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusuf Rawa, most of them have not vacated their board positions in state-linked companies, and kept have mum about their position.

As of June 27, less than 50 members have relinquished their posts while the majority, who mostly hold low-rung positions such as village security and safety committee heads, have stayed on.

PAS says that it does not recognise DAP as the controlling party in the state government.

“It is a Pakatan Rakyat government, although DAP may hold the majority of the state seats,” PAS Information head Nasharuddin Hassan Tantawi says.

Pakatan continues to exist in terms of the party’s partnership with PKR, more so in Penang, he says, adding that it is the DAP that quit the political pact.

Nasharuddin asks party members, who occupy close to the 200 positions in the state administration, to continue serving the people of Penang. “PAS has an obligation under Pakatan to serve the people. DAP may think otherwise, but we remain steadfast,” he says.

PAS members would remain secure in their positions unless the party dictates otherwise, he adds.

Nasharudin has a valid point. The state government was formed by Pakatan in 2008, and it was not just the sole initiative of DAP in setting up the administration. Days after the fall of Barisan Nasional in Penang in 2008, the state government was formed with representatives from the three parties.

DAP, by virtue of the number of seats it held, took command of the state government, with Lim Guan Eng assuming the position of chief minister. DAP holds 19 seats in the state assembly, PAS only has one, while PKR controls nine seats. Umno as the main opposition in the state, has 10 seats, second only to DAP.

With DAP and PAS now at logger heads, questions have been raised on whether the state government is functioning well.

The post of the Penang Islamic Religious Council president is currently held by the sole PAS assemblyman for Permatang Pasir, Datuk Salleh Man. However, he has been avoiding the media since the collapse of Pakatan.

Would Salleh toe the party line or follow the instructions of the state government when it comes to making decisions? Some quarters have claimed that Salleh had pledged his loyalty openly to the state government during a close-door event.

Salleh attended a state event rather than join the PAS leaders in their maiden ceramah event in the state on June 27, after the ulama faction made a clean sweep at the party’s muktamar.

On June 14, PAS Dewan Ulama head Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamad urged Penang and Selangor PAS members to remain in their government positions until a final decision by the party’s supreme decision-making body, the Shura council, on whether to sever ties with the DAP.

The party adopted a motion ending relations with the DAP at its general assembly. The motion must go to the Shura council for ratification. He says the Shura council would make a decision within a month.

“We want to fix it. That is why we want the members in the states especially Penang and Selangor not to resign until the decision is made,” Mahfodz was reported as saying.

However, the PAS Shura council has yet to make its stand on this.