02 October 2014
Watching the tension-filled muktamar, or annual congress, of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) unfold recently in Batu Pahat was like following a burning fuse waiting to explode. One after another, the party leadership responded to delegates’ criticisms of their handling of the Selangor menteri besar (chief minister) or “MB” crisis. This was essentially an internal squabble around its opposition ally Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) attempt to replace its chief minister in Selangor state.
It is strange how what began as a PKR problem surprisingly spread to engulf PAS, partly because the spillover was not well handled by PAS’ chief, Mr Hadi Awang. For some inexplicable reason, he had refused to support PKR’s sole nominee — its president, Dr Wan Azizah — for the Selangor MB post.
This was even though the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition, which includes PKR, PAS and Democratic Action Party (DAP), had agreed to the nomination of Dr Wan Azizah, the wife of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Mr Hadi’s resistance divided PAS internally and even threatened to bring down the entire opposition alliance. As the PAS leaders defended their positions during the annual congress, they only succeeded in resurrecting the deep division between the party’s two pillars — the ulama or religious scholars and the professionals, whose influence has grown over the years.
…Yang Razali Kassim is Senior Fellow with the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 02/10/2014