PAS’s new old Putrajaya team

The Malaysian Insider

NOVEMBER 24, 2013

PAS does not believe in hype. That was one thing that a PAS grassroots leader said was what members have described as the most vicious (by its standards) party elections.

The second thing is, the grassroots reward hardworking, articulate, outward-looking leaders who do not just preach to the converted.

Party members with whom The Malaysian Insider spoke believe these were among the considerations they used to choose the people who will lead the party into its quest for federal power in the next three years.

The 18-member central working committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, which emerged last night was almost a carbon copy of the previous one that had steered the party into the 13th General Election.

It was CWC that was stocked with three groups: the so-called professionals, religious teachers and scholars, and activists.

Only four of the CWC members are new. And they were religious teachers who replaced mostly other religious teachers.

Yet the social media campaign waged in the months leading up to the elections framed it as a war between the party’s conservatives and its progressives.

The talk was that the conservatives were staging a comeback into the CWC, which had been dominated by progressives.

But the results, said PAS leaders, showed that the grassroots liked the formula of an urbane, open-minded PAS that worked hand-in-glove with Pakatan Rakyat allies, PKR and DAP, and wanted to deepen its ties with mainstream Malaysian society.

The results, which also saw veteran political organiser Mohamad Sabu being retained as deputy president, were an endorsement and acknowledgement of the old CWC’s track record in leading PAS in the last general election, said PAS Kuala Kedah division leader Nasir Zakaria.

By re-electing the same people, Nasir said, the grassroots acknowledged the hard work its leaders had put into expanding PAS support and winning seats despite the fact that it fared badly among rural Malay Muslims.

“It’s a realisation that our party is strong internally and that the challenges are external. Our loss of rural Malay Muslim support was not due to us but because we could not counter all the BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid),” said Nasir.

He also pointed to the fact that unlike what had been depicted in the pro-Umno media and in social media, the grassroots were not swayed by talk that PAS was losing its way because it was ruled by progressives.

“It just shows that all this talk about ulama versus Erdogans versus professionals was just nonsense created by outsiders”.

Politics as a means

Another aspect of the results that gets missed by the ulama-v-eEdogans pundits is that just like the election in 2011, the grassroots do not see a conflict between progressives and conservatives.

In fact, just like two years ago, they like a balanced mix of progressives and conservatives, said Felda activist Mazlan Aliman.

It’s a formula that balances the party’s need to stay close to its roots as a Islamist movement and the need to gain political power in order to meet those aims.

It goes back to what PAS president, parliamentarian and ideologue Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has stressed over and over again: PAS uses politics in order to “menegakkan Islam”.

Roughly translated, it means PAS aims to bring about a society ruled by, what some say, is PAS’s version of Islam.

In order to do that, it has to gain federal power. In order to gain federal power, said Mazlan, it needed technocrats and professionals to design national policy and activists to marshal support from society.

But to keep PAS members true to their struggles, it needed religious scholars and teachers.

“They are the experts at dakwah and tarbiyah (teaching and training) of our members to remind them of our goals as a movement.”

This combination, said Mazlan, who was retained as a CWC member, was what would bring it forward as a political party and an Islamist movement.

This was echoed by newly elected CWC member and ulama Nik Zawawi Nik Salleh.

“These three groups will move together to make PAS strong to lead Pakatan to Putrajaya. This is the team that will go to Putrajaya”. – November 24, 2013.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Sunday, 24 November 2013 - 11:36 am

    Johor will be moving 2 Friday-Saturday weekend
    When PAS/PR take over P’jaya, d entire nation may also move 2 Friday-Saturday weekend
    Syiok lah, goodie goodie, Friday-Saturday weekend actually bcomes Friday-Saturday-Sunday weekend in practice – most parts of d world outside M’sia rest on Sunday mah
    We all going 2 enjoy 4-day weeks, so nice 1, more time 2 b procreative n productive

  2. #3 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 25 November 2013 - 12:44 am

    PAS is such a respected group of people who do not jump team for personal gain. I think the Pakatan Rakyat parties have so much to learn from PAS. A certain kind of religious thinking is still important in one’s life so that you would walk in a reasonable way. For BN, the money is their religion.

  3. #4 by boh-liao on Monday, 25 November 2013 - 4:00 am

    Religion + Hunger 4 POWER may lead 2 Greed 4 $
    Greed 4 $ may also lead 2 Hunger 4 POWER by exploiting RELIGION n RACE
    Where is d desire being ‘sincere 2 serve rakyat n nation’?

    50 years ago, d man who said ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’ was @ss@ssinated

    Now, here, we hv big fat “leaders” who said ‘Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what you can jiak, jiak, jiak from your country’ & ‘Gua kasih lu, lu kasih gua’ prospering unhindered, even though elected by minority

  4. #5 by Bigjoe on Monday, 25 November 2013 - 9:57 am

    PAS deserve credit for taking on the difficult debates they have. More than that, they deserve credit they remember and fight for what being Malay means and does not simply swallow easier wholesale Arabisation that naturally tend to happen with adopting Islam. They do this despite the fact they are not really the most ready to tackle the global issues facing Islam and yet strangely not surprising they are faced with the challenge and questions ahead of most of their Islamic brethens.

    But the fact of the matter is that what PKR and PAS face is a technological problem of their constituent. If they are to succeed, it calls for political technology and innovation, not ideology. In the end, they face a lack of resources they can’t possible match – good enough they are crawling to reduce their opponent advantage. But only political technology and innovation, together with dedication and a bit of luck, is their only real chance of getting to their stated goal.

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