Saturday 4 June 2011

PAS delegates vote for stronger ties with Pakatan

To the outside observer the absence of the ulama in the new PAS leadership lineup today may be jarring, but for Pasir Mas delegate Daud Yateemee Ahmad, balance within the party has been struck.

NONE"No worries. We have the Syura council and the Ulama wing, who are able to give direction to the party. With the new line-up, we now have a good combination of ulama and professionals," said Daud when met soon after the results were announced this morning at the muktamar in Kuala Lumpur.

According to Daud (left), who is also treasurer of one of the founding divisions of PAS, the delegation has voted to ensure stronger relations with Pakatan Rakyat, particularly as the party prepares for the coming general election.

"God-willing, the new line up will be able to build on their ties to spread our message on a national platform," he said.

NONEThis morning, Penangite grassroots leader Mohamad Sabu (right), fondly known as Mat Sabu, ousted incumbent Nasharudin Mat Isa and trounced contender Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man - both of whom have religious backgrounds - to take the number two post in the Islamic party.

Mat Sabu's success on his second attempt at the post is a reason to smile for Kepala Batas delegate Zulkifly Ishak.

"As a Penangite, I am proud that a fellow Penangite has won. But more importantly, we want him to capitalise on good relations with Pakatan Rakyat.

"We don't know what will happen to Anwar Ibrahim (at the end of his ongoing sodomy trial), so we need someone who can step up in the coalition if the worst happens," he said.

Cheer for Pakatan ties

Mat Sabu enjoys good relations with partner parties DAP and PKR, and his rise from the grassroots movement lends him hard earned street credibility among Muslim and non-Muslim supporters alike.

pas muktamar voting 030611Judging by the response of youngsters, who flock around Mat Sabu outside the muktamar to take photos with him, the new deputy president is likely to attract a younger, more diverse crowd into the Islamic party, thus expanding its reach and making it a formidable force in national politics.

This morning's results also indicate that the delegates are willing to withstand the 'growing pains' of abandoning their traditionally more conservative stance and present a more open and inclusive party in a plural society.

NONEJoining Mat Sabu in the new leadership are Salahuddin Ayub and Mahfuz Omar, both non-ulama, who retain their posts as vice presidents alongside comeback kid Kelantan senior exco Husam Musa.

Ketereh delegate Nik Mahadi Nik Mahmud applauded the return of Kelantanese leaders into the fold, since candidates from the PAS bastion were almost wiped out in the previous poll that saw Husam failing his bid for deputy presidency.

"We hope this line-up can realise the president's vision of a welfare state and fortify Pakatan Rakyat," said Nik Mahadi.

Aggresive election team

The leaders seem to share the delegates' sentiments.

NONENewly-elected Muslimat (Women's wing) chief Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (right) said that the results show that PAS is ready to take on a bigger role nationally.

"Half of the new central committee are of ulama background, while the others are professionals.

"What the delegates are presenting is a proposal for national leadership. You can't run a country with only ulama," said Siti Zailah.

Central committee member Siti Mariah Mahmud added that what is needed at present is a strong “election team”.

"We need an aggressive team who can sting and is adept in political strategy when it comes to leading a party in elections. The feedback was the old leadership was not aggressive enough," she said.

The new leadership will hold their posts until 2013.

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