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Pro-ulama factor in PAS Youth

Posted: 21 Nov 2013 03:27 PM PST

The PAS Youth wing has set the tone for the party election by voting in an ulama-dominated team that intends to defend the role of the religious scholars in their party.

Khalil is the eldest son of PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and Nik Abduh's father is Mursyidul Am Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat. Political parties love the idea of continuity because it means that the party is moving along. The pro-ulama team took two of the three Youth posts in a hard-fought contest.

Joceline Tan, The Star

ONE famous son has been replaced by another famous son in the Youth wing of PAS.

When Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi was named the new Dewan Pemuda deputy chief in the party election, his outgoing counterpart Nik Abduh Nik Aziz flashed his shy smile.

It was quite a special moment in the history of the party and everyone, particularly Nik Abduh, could see the significance.

There was a sense of a political transition in the making – the young and rising sons of two of the party's most prominent ulama are moving towards centrestage in the party.

Khalil is the eldest son of PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and Nik Abduh's father is Mursyidul Am Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat. Political parties love the idea of continuity because it means that the party is moving along.

The pro-ulama team took two of the three Youth posts in a hard-fought contest.

Youth wing chief Suhaizan Kaiat secured 320 votes, narrowly beating his pro-ulama rival Kamaruzaman Muhammad, who secured 307 votes.

Suhaizan's deputy Khalil and vice-chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin are from the pro-ulama group.

Suhaizan won on the strength of his track record as the former Youth information chief and his reputation as an activist.

It may not be the ulama dream team but it is actually quite a good combination of Suhaizan the activist, Khalil the religious scholar and Khairil the technocrat.

In fact, this may be the most qualified in terms of educational background that the Youth wing has elected. They will give Umno Youth a run for their money.

Zulhazmi Shariff, who was the third candidate for the top post, lost badly.

He had been the first to declare his interest in the post via his Facebook as calon KP (calon Ketua Pemuda or candidate for Youth chief).

He said he wanted to merakyatkan pemuda or to democratise the wing but many saw him as a wildcard candidate.

He is just an ordinary member, he was not a delegate to the muktamar, he could not vote and had to sit with the observers in the gallery area.

His rejection shows that delegates are quite discriminating about who and what the candidates are about and those with no track records have no chance in a high level contest.

Suhaizan's victory is a vindication of sorts. At the party polls two years ago, he was all prepared to go for the top post in the wing, but then-Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan begged to stay on another term. Suhaizan contested the deputy post but lost to Nik Abduh.

Those vying for places in the Youth wing leadership had been quite imaginative in their campaign.

It was evident that even the Youth wing was uncomfortable about the intensity and tactics employed in this election campaign. A pro-ulama Facebook page El Haraki was singled out for mention.

Many of the speakers lashed out at what they called fitnah and benda-benda buruk used by campaigners. They could not believe that a group claiming to be promoting the ulama cause could actually resort to name-calling and accusations.

Some in the party took the easy way out by blaming Umno as being behind the attacks. But deep in their hearts, they know it is internal because the views expressed could only have come from within.

There were lots of jubah and kopiah at the opening ceremony of the Youth wing a day earlier. But the next day, all the delegates were attired in white and green shirts, topped with white kopiah. They looked neat and disciplined, so different from the PAS Youth crowd of just a decade ago.

It was a metaphor of the young Malays, who now dominate the party's Youth wing, a modern generation that takes their religion seriously going by the passionate defence of the ulama role in PAS during the debate.

Many of them are well educated, whether in religious studies or secular fields. They are the future profile of PAS and they will be a force to reckon with.

Does the pro-ulama outcome of the Dewan Pemuda contest mean that an ulama wind will blow through the election of the main party today? No one can quite tell. In the 2011 polls, the pro-ulama group took the top posts in the Youth wing but the next day, big posts in the main party election fell to the Erdogan candidates.

And that is why all eyes will be on today's election.


Ulamas’ push for original Islamic state risking Pakatan pact

Posted: 21 Nov 2013 03:19 PM PST

Sheridan Mahavera, TMI

Amid all the talk about the PAS ulama wing or Dewan Ulama calling for a review of the Islamist party's cooperation in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) – and whether that will lead it to leave the coalition – there was a persistent theme of unity running through its deliberations.

Unity not just among PAS members, be they conservatives or moderates, religious scholars or engineers. It was about everyone in Malaysia unifying under the umbrella of a benevolent so-called Islamic state administered by PAS.

Dewan Ulama chief Datuk Harun Taib (picture) repeatedly went back to this theme went he talked of diverse subjects from Karpal Singh to Muslim liberalism to the future of PAS and especially the PR cooperation. This call for unity reflects the crossroads at which PAS finds itself.

The party has become a mainstream presence in Malaysia's political and social landscape and has gained support among non-Muslims in ways it could not have imagined 10 years ago.

Though it lost the Kedah state administration, PAS won eight more seats in Selangor than it did in 2008 and made inroads into Pahang.

Yet the Dewan Ulama and its conservative supporters believe this has come at the cost of it tempering its original struggle of wanting to set up an Islamic state in Malaysia.

More than that, in order to make those inroads into Malaysian society and to work with its allies the DAP and PKR, the Dewan Ulama feels that it was done at the expense of talking up its plans to implement hudud, or Islamic criminal law.

"When we were at war during the general elections, we had a common enemy (Barisan Nasional). So we swept our differences (between Pakatan parties) under the carpet," says a Dewan Ulama delegate from Terengganu who requested anonymity.

During the elections, Pakatan parties largely held to a promise to campaign on a common platform which was the "Manifesto Rakyat: Pakatan Harapan Rakyat".

PAS rarely mentioned its struggle for an Islamic state or its intention to implement hudud in places which it had won.

"But after the elections, we felt that it was time to review things especially on where we (PAS) stand and how we cooperate," said the Terengganu delegate.

Harun and the conservatives want PAS to return to its original of aim of setting up an Islamic state which includes hudud, and they want it to be expressed clearly to the public and its Pakatan partners.

"If we do not implement Islam then there is no meaning in our struggle. PAS should not be afraid to talk about Islam," said Harun in his opening remarks at the start of the assembly.

"There should not be members who say that if we talk about Islam, we cannot win (votes)."



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