Observers say Abdul Hadi should be given priority to choose which seat he wants to contest. (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: Pas President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's statement that he would let the party to decide which seat he will be contesting is seen by some observers as a sign that his influence is dwindling.
According to political observers, Abdul Hadi, as the president and a veteran in Pas, should have the priority to decide which seat he should contest, not others.
This, as they said, signals to the nation that the former Opposition Leader has lost his credibility and is bringing down Pas’ image as well.
Political analyst Md Shukri Shuib of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) said Abdul Hadi’s statement had certainly raised eyebrows on who has the power to determine seats to be contested by potential candidates.
“Even he (Abdul Hadi) is still looking at which seat to contest. He’s not a Johnny-come-lately type of politician. He is the president of the party and also the general of the machinery," Md Shukri Said.
“Is Abdul Hadi indirectly showing that he has no faith to regain his seat in Marang as well as no confidence on retaining the state that he used to rule as a Mentri Besar?” the analyst asked.
Earlier, Abdul Hadi had been reported as saying that he is willing to contest in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s seat in Pekan, Pahang.
However, the 65-year-old politician said it depends on the party central leadership's decision to determine his readiness.
"I will heed the party’s decision and will leave it to the party. The party will make the decision... including whether it will direct me to stand in the Pekan parliamentary seat,” he was quoted as saying.
However, his intention has seemingly not been well-received by Pakatan Rakyat as Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the matter is yet to be discussed.
“We have not discussed the matter yet … Hadi said he will follow Pas’ decision, so we’ll just have to wait,” Anwar was quoted as saying.
However, Anwar later issued a challenge to Najib that the latter should instead be contesting in Marang.
Prior to this, Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah wrote in his blog Tangents: Restless Musings of a Malay Mind that he viewed Abdul Hadi’s move as political suicide.
Even though Najib had once nearly lost the seat (in 1999), the blogger pointed out that the local Umno machinery has taken significant steps to make the seat more secure, thus making it almost impossible for Abdul Hadi to capture Pekan.
“DS Najib and his organisation had taken some significant steps to make the seat more secure. Certainly since 2004's PRU11 landslide, when the seat was held by a Deputy Prime Minister for the first time in some 3.5 decades, the likelihood of DS Najib being beaten off the seat has dimished significantly.
“So, any opposition leader challenging DS Najib in Pekan, even DS Anwar Ibrahim, would be committing harakiri!” the blogger said.
However, blogger On Da Street said that Abdul Hadi’s announcement was probably to boost up the party's morale as it is nearing the general election.
“Somehow, he has gained some mileage. He also has pushed up any low morale Pas members (for Pas has been ridiculed as followers and obeyed to DAP and PKR)," the blogger said.
“A battle cry worth to motivate some PAS members that he and PAS should not being taken for granted,” he added.
On Da Street also had posed a million-dollar-question by asking: “If Abdul Hadi wins the seat, will Anwar still be considered Prime Minister material?”