Incumbent Deputy President ‘Too Liberal’ Towards UMNO Says Challenger
Posted on May 26, 2009
Reciting prayers at an Ulama’s tomb in Beijing, February 2009
Husam left Sri Pentas after Zahid Hamidi failed to turn up. Read the official statement here.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 05:48:00
PAS deputy president aspirant Datuk Husam Musa fired the first salvo at incumbent Nasharuddin Mat Isa by labelling him “too Umno-liberal”.
Husam said yesterday: “I consider the incumbent deputy president (Nasharuddin) also a liberal, but too liberal towards Umno, which is something not acceptable.
“Pas needs to be in the centre, not to possess an open attitude to Umno or to save Umno.”
How Husam would fare in the June 5 party election remains to be seen. But if his potshot at Nasharuddin, an obvious reference to his action to meet then-Umno president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to discuss a proposal for a unity government, is anything to go by, then the post may just see the fiercest contest for some time in the normally mundane Pas elections.
Husam, to some party members, was echoing the party’s resolution adopted at its assembly last August to strengthen ties with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and DAP in achieving their common objective of toppling the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in the next general election.
Nasharuddin has been keeping a low profile, not even speaking to the Press since March when the party divisions began nominating candidates for the polls.
Naharuddin, who hails from Negri Sembilan, won the Bachok parliamentary seat in Kelantan, but is said to have no real support in Kelantan, which happens to be Husam’s homeground.
Husam is said to enjoy good support from members in Kedah, Perak and Pahang, while Mat Sabu, the other candidate vying for the same post, is from Kedah. He is lacking solid ground support, it is believed.
Yesterday’s announcement on the candidates vying for positions in the party was seen by some members as a clear sign that the group of liberals would gain some footing come June 5.
“There are many candidates who are in the liberal group. We may just see a situation where Abdul Hadi ends up being surrounded by the young professional liberals. If this happens, then all decisions would be in the hands of the liberals as the party practices the consensus system when making all decisions,” said a member.
Another member said Husam, although seen as a liberal, was a fundamentalist as he felt strongly about setting up an Islamic State.
“Despite him being close to PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Husam does not succumb to liberal thinking hen it comes to the fundamentals of Islam.”Husam has never been in Umno as Anwar and some other Pas leaders have. Instead, Husam underwent cadreship with Abdul Hadi. That makes him acceptable by both groups in the party – the fundamentalists and liberals,” he said.
Mat Sabu, on the other hand, is acceptable by the fundamentalists but this would divide the support from the
fundamentalists who are also supporting Nasharuddin.
Husam On A Mission
PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa is taking centrestage in the party election next month despite four other contestants vying for the party’s deputy president post. Unseating incumbent Nasharuddin Mat Isa is a mammoth task, given the divide within the party between the fundamentalists and liberals.
But all eyes are on Husam – who is said to be Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s man, Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s favourite and party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s political student. The other contestants nominated to take on Nasharuddin are vice-president Mohamad Sabu, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Razak and deputy ulama chief Datuk Dr Harun Din.
But they are all considered to be long shots Husam, has yet to make any decision, neither has he shown any sign or inclination whether to accept the nomination or opt out. Nasharuddin was doing good until the meeting with Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders after the March 2008 general election where he and Abdul Hadi had discussed the possibility of a unity government.
Since then, Nasharuddin’s popularity has gradually taken a dip with party members, mostly from young liberals aligned to Anwar and to Husam. Husam, an economics graduate and former Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim) leader, is seen as a upcoming Pas leader who is considered acceptable by both the fundamentalists and liberals in the party.
While he is on a silent fast until Monday, his close aide said Husam was currently focusing on finding an amicable and legal solution for the political turmoil in Perak.
“After Thursday, when the Appeal Court decides, Husam will make known his plans for Perak as he has already met Umno’s Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek on the matter,” the aide said.
“On Monday, he will announce whether he will go for the party’s deputy presidency. I have been with him all along and he has not even spoken about the deputy presidency race.”
Husam joined Pas in 1982, after Anwar joined Umno, and underwent cadreship in Rusila under Abdul Hadi.
“If Husam is Anwar’s man, then he should have also joined Umno like the rest of Abim’s leaders who followed Anwar into Umno,” the aide said.
“As far as Husam is concerned, Pas needs to play the role of Umno as the pillar of the Malays if the party wants to grow and rule the country.
“If Pas is successful in doing this, then the party can strengthen Islam where its voice will be heard loud and clear in any coalition or alliance.
“Only then can the party propose to have Abdul Hadi or Nik Aziz as the Prime Minister,” he said of Husam’s idea