Sunday 5 June 2011

Utusan says Hadi, Nik Aziz forced PAS ulama out

June 05, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — The Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia has ironically blamed top PAS ulamas Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat for the ulama faction losing top posts in the party elections over the weekend.  The Malay daily’s weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia said today the president and spiritual leader respectively had caused delegates to vote for progressive leaders instead of the conservative ulama who favour cooperation with Umno.

News editor Zulkiflee Bakar wrote that Abdul Hadi’s policy speech which attacked the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) and focused on taking over government with PAS allies in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had encouraged delegates to vote for “pro professional” candidates.

“Abdul Hadi was unaware that his speech would raise the spirits of the pro professionals to control the party. Talking about a welfare state gave the impression that ulama leaders were no longer needed as PAS has stopped fighting for an Islamic state,” he wrote.

The editorial added that the Marang MP’s drive to ready PAS for a general election expected within the year had further influenced delegates to ensure that professionals took up this responsibility.

“The ulama in PAS are perceived as weak and unable to face BN in the coming general election. This means the ulama will not have any power or role except to follow whatever strategies that are implemented by the professionals,” it said.

Mohamad Sabu won the party deputy presidency yesterday with 420 votes, leading a group of progressive leaders to counter conservatives who prefer to link up with Umno.

The Penang-born Mohamad defeated incumbent Nasharudin Mat Isa, who received only 224 votes, and vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who came second with 399 votes. A total of 1,100 delegates voted in this year’s party elections.

In the vice-presidential race, incumbent Salahuddin Ayub took top spot with 753 votes, Datuk Husam Musa was second with 660 votes while another incumbent Datuk Mahfuz Omar kept his post with 616 votes.
The Umno newspaper also blamed spiritual leader Nik Aziz for ensuring that Nasharudin, part of the ulama faction, would fail to defend his No 2 post that has been held by ulama since 1981.

“Nik Aziz failed to advice his nephew Tuan Ibrahim to withdraw to avoid a split vote for ulama. Nik Aziz does not like Nasharudin for his links in trying to form a unity government with Umno even though it is for Malay and Muslim unity,” it said.

Zulkiflee said that the election results would make Abdul Hadi powerless to stop the “wave of political power” by PAS leaders who are loyal to PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“This is all due to the mistake of the president who appeared to endorse this wave through his opening speech,” he wrote.

The party poll was billed as a contest between the party’s conservative ulama faction and the professionals (dubbed the Erdogans in a reference to progressive Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan).
The Erdogans are said to strongly back a coalition with former deputy prime minister Anwar rather than accept negotiations with Umno.

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