PAS headed for doom, ousted ex-deputy president claims

mat sabu

(Malay Mail Online) – An ousted leader of PAS’s progressive faction believes the Islamist party, having lost its appeal to the non-Muslims and the Malay professionals, is now living out its final days.

Mohamad Sabu, PAS’s former deputy president, blames this on the current conservative-dominant leadership, saying that by its decision to sever ties with former ally DAP and its unwavering stance in the hudud issue, these leaders have led the 64-year-old party to a state “beyond repair”.

“PAS is beyond repair for the non-Muslims and professional. They look down on PAS now. (The) non-Muslims and civil society, especially in Kuala Lumpur,” he told Malay Mail Online in an interview.

Mohamad or Mat Sabu as he is popularly known, was one of the 18 PAS progressive leaders who were wiped out last month during the party’s muktamar.

During the annual meet, the party also decided to end ties with the DAP, a move that was formally endorsed yesterday by its powerful Syura Council.

Since then, Mat Sabu and the party’s other progressive leaders like Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, Parit Buntar MP Datuk Dr Mujahid Rawa and former Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad are now looking to set up a new political entity, which is going by the name “Gerakan Harapan Baru” (GHB) for now.

Mat Sabu said the decision to start the new party was made when he and his comrades agreed that they had lost all hope in changing the PAS leadership, especially as the conservative Syura Council has a five-year tenure.

“So for another five years, PAS will never change. No need for us to repent and come back or anything,” Mat Sabu, who is a PAS member of over 30 years, explained.

The leader added that although the overtures by Umno on possibly forming a political cooperation with PAS may have merely been a ruse by the ruling party, it had been successful in destroying unity within the Islamist party.

“Actually, Umno is already successful. They wanted to us to split. So they have already done that, Umno is not interested anymore because it is a weak party already,” he said.

Mat Sabu also warned of a possible fall of PAS in Kelantan, a state the Islamist party has ruled for over 20 years.

He said many voters in the east coast state have grown increasingly disillusioned with the current PAS leadership due to the state’s handling of a number of issues including post-flood reconstruction efforts.

The flood crisis that struck Kelantan late last year saw over 200,000 people displaced from their homes.

Politically, Mat Sabu said voters were also unhappy with PAS’s direction, especially after the passing of the party’s spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, as well as the leadership’s sidelining of former PAS vice president Datuk Husam Musa, a leader said to be well-liked by the people.

“Kelantan is very shaky, according to the report we obtained from researchers,” Mat Sabu said.

Talks of the Gerakan Harapan Baru, which in English means “a movement of new hope” started emerging after the last Muktamar where 18 of the PAS progressives were ousted from the central committee.

The party elections, also saw the Islamist party severing ties with DAP which led to the makeshift opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat being declared dead.

Most of the progressives banded together with support from other component parties like DAP and PKR to set up a new party that seeks to replace PAS as the Malay-Muslim grassroots party in order to form a new bloc.