Pas at risk of more internal cracks

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – November 16, 2015: It appears that Pas is in for a rough ride as cracks within the Islamist party will continue to grow and fester.

Such were the views shared by several political analysts and its former leaders who deemed that the recent internal imbroglio plaguing the party was due to its right-wing-friendly stance.

Professor Datuk Dr Zainal Kling of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) deemed that given its current stance the Islamist party may have difficulties in garnering new supports.

He said that Pas will, nonetheless, be able to continue to stand on its own but their support will inevitably dwindle.

“Although I cannot say for certain how deep the crack within Pas is but after several influential leaders of its progressive factions left and form Amanah, the party has had troubles in gaining younger members to sign up.

“However, I still think that the party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has enough support for Pas to retain Kelantan in the next general election.

“But, they will, arguably, lose significant amount of votes in (opposition strongholds of) Penang and Selangor because Pas supporters in these two states are generally more supportive towards its ex-leaders in Amanah,” he opined.

The Pas internal imbroglio was believed to have ended following the Ulama faction massive victory in its party poll held during its ‘Muktmar’ (Annual General Assembly).

Almost all of its candidates in the so-called progressive factions were defeated and all of them had left the party to form a new party called Amanah.

At that particular moment, it is believed that the party was rid of all dissidents but last week Pas’ leadership is seeing some of its influential members were speaking up against the party from within.

Among those who had spoken up against the party’s central leadership’s decisions were former vice-president Datuk Husam Musa, former information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar and Permatang Pasir assemblyman Datuk Mohd Salleh Man.

The trio however, have clearly stated that they harbour no intention of exiting Pas and Husam had even reportedly said he “loved the party and its struggle more than he loved its president”.

Nonetheless, Associate Professor Mohd Azizudin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) said the internal spat would worsen if the trio were sacked from the party for their dissent.

He stressed that if the party’s central leadership were to do that then it would fuel the perception that Pas is undemocratic and is not open to criticisms.

“The party needs to realise that people like Husam, Mahfuz and Salleh Man are not new faces within Pas and each of them have their own followers.

“As it is, Pas cannot afford to lose any more members. So the party’s central leadership needs to find a suitable compromise with these rebels,” said Azizudin.

He also deduced that the reason as to why these staunch Pas leaders were suddenly defying its leadership’s decisions were due to the party’s Barisan-Nasional-friendly decisions.

The same views on the underlying reasons that triggered the rebellion within Pas was also corroborated by its former central executive committee Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad who is now Amanah strategy director.

He opined that the dissenters were anxious and worried that if Pas continues with its BN friendly stance, the party would face grim electoral outcomes in the next general election.

“I don’t usually want to comment on Pas because it may be seen in a bad light.

“But I am obliged and compelled to do so because coming from my former party, I know my friends from every level of leadership including those at the state level and the central leadership.

“The reason why some have been quite audacious in reminding or criticising Pas’ central leadership is because they want to ensure that Pas would stay committed in the fight to end the rule of BN.

“For all we know, this rebellion is only a tip of an even greater dissent on the ground stemming from Pas’ decision to move away from the opposition fraternity,” he explained.

He added that “Pas cannot, at one instance be willing to advise the government while also says that it wants to bring down the government.”

It was due to such contradictory actions that Dr Dzulkefly believed to have been troubling the minds of hard-core Pas leaders, who were committed to topple the BN-led government.

However, Dr Dzulkefly also disclosed that the cracks within Pas was not something relatively new that form after the progressive faction were wiped out in the party poll during the last party elections earlier this year.

“I will tell you the underlying reasons why we of the Amanah has finally decided to seek a platform of our own.

“The situation in Pas has always been about a serious different methodologies of workings which leads to a multifactorial conflicts within Pas.

“Some believed in Islam that is inclusive, engaging and fair for all but there are those who go at it in a different way.

“At first such differences in opinion were manageable but the gradual bickering, infighting and the name calling have only aggravated the situation,” he said.

He, however was quick to add that such conflicts was never individual or personal and that he still maintain cordial personal relationship with those of the ulama faction in his former party.

He also told The Mole that he hoped Pas would gain change and reforms so that the Islamist party and Amanah can close ranks in the future.

Additional reporting by: Ahirine Ahirudin



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.