Not Erdogans, but Team Nik Aziz-Hadi, says PAS chief
KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang declared today the newly elected party leadership was not Erdogans or progressives as criticised by political foes, nor was it the ulamas who lost in internal polls. “This is the Nik Aziz and Abdul Hadi Awang’s team. PAS is an Islamic party and not AKP. This is Malaysia and not Turkey,” he said, referring to PAS spiritual chief Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.
“A lot has been said about the party’s leadership and that this time it is dominated by the Erdogans. I would to say here that this is not the Erdogans but the leadership of Nik Aziz and Abduk Hadi Awang,” the president said when winding up the debate on the last day of the party’s 57th muktamar here today.
Mohamad Sabu won the party deputy presidency with 420 votes in Friday’s election, leading a group of progressive leaders to counter conservatives who prefer to link up with Umno.
The Penang-born Mohamad defeated incumbent Nahsarudin Mat Isa, who received only 224 votes, and vice-president 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 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 have also been dubbed the “Anwarites” because of their support for PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who wields influence in PAS through his preaching of pragmatic Islam and moderation, along with support from Nik Aziz.
Today, Hadi also reminded his delegates that the party must not forego its Islamist principles, nor allow itself to be ruled by emotions.
He said although PAS is part of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the party need not surrender its own identity to match that of its partners.
“Allegations we face today must be countered with knowledge and not anger. Let us not be influenced by other political parties. We may be co-operating (with other parties) but we are our own party. We have our own ways and morals,” Hadi said.
He added that the party must not make false allegations against its political foes, in covert reference to Umno and its leaders.
“If we want accuse someone then we must have (four) witnesses. If there are no witnesses then it is forbidden,” he said.
Abdul Hadi also explained PAS will never work with Umno, judging the latter to have failed to elevate welfare despite half a century in power.
Today, Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Malaysia was already a welfare state under Barisan Nasional, and had surpassed the model proposed by PAS during its muktamar.
He also criticised the party for not discussing allegations against Anwar’s sex life, saying it was a moral issue that PAS ignored for political expediency.
Despite his criticisms, Muhyiddin said Umno would still welcome PAS to join an unity government.