BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
14 April 2015
Former PAS vice-president Ahmad Awang, who received three nominations to take on Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for the top party post, has dismissed the president’s claim that the disagreements within the Islamist party were a “small” issue.
He said if the problems were not resolved, the party could be heading for destruction, adding that contrary to Hadi’s belief, the party was currently facing a bigger crisis than before.
“The president said it is a small thing. But from what I am seeing, the situation is really bad, and if left unchecked, it could destroy the party,” said Ahmad, who was also the former Perak PAS commissioner.
Ahmad qualified to contest the party top post after receiving more than the minimum two nominations recently. His nominations came from Penang’s Bukit Gelugor division and Negri Sembilan’s Jelebu division. He was initially nominated by the Parit Sulong division.
He said the PAS Ulama Council and party leadership should take heed of the situation and put a stop to the internal strife immediately before it worsened.
Speaking at a forum in Shah Alam on Saturday, Hadi had said the disagreements in the Islamist party were a “small” issue and gave his assurance that the party remained strong and would continue to prosper.
He insisted PAS had faced bigger crises in the past, including the decision by its highest leadership to leave the party in the 1950s and 1960s and yet, PAS remained intact.
Ahmad said he, too, had become a victim of the “political games” in the party.
He said certain parties have already started applying pressure on him, including stopping him from giving lectures at a mosque.
The move was believed to be prompted by his writings, which allegedly criticised the way the ulama faction in the party was campaigning ahead of the 61st PAS muktamar in June.
“I received an SMS from the mosque’s secretary telling me to stop giving lectures, following advice from the party branch in the area.”
Ahmad, who yesterday had said he was prepared to take on Hadi for the party’s top post, said that if he decided to run, PAS should ensure that democracy in the party prevailed.
He went on to criticise the newly appointed PAS spiritual leader Datuk Dr Haron Din for supporting Hadi as the party president.
“It is not appropriate (for Haron to do that). This is an abuse of power. Because he is in an influential position,” said Ahmad, who claimed several state commissioners appeared to have forced PAS members in their respective areas to support their candidates.
“Contesting does not mean that we are fighting. But now, friends have become foes.”
Ahmad said he also regretted the use of T-shirts attacking PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu last Saturday.
Vendors, he said, were selling T-shirts that read “Yes to Hudud, No to Mat Sabu”.
“Perhaps the organisers are not aware, but now that they know, action must be taken,” said Ahmad.
The party has been hit with internal strife because of differing opinions among the three component parties of Pakatan Rakyat, which include DAP and PKR.
Among them was the move by PKR to replace Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as the Selangor menteri besar and the by-election for the Kajang state seat.
The Selangor saga was prolonged when PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was picked as the candidate for the menteri besar post, which PAS disagreed, despite PKR and DAP agreeing that only one name should be submitted to the Selangor Sultan.
The fraught relationship between PAS and its component partners was worsened by PAS Kelantan’s decision to table amendments to the Shariah Criminal Enactment 11 in the state, in a bid to pave the way for Islamic law to be implemented in the state.
Following that incident, a few PAS members decided to set up Persatuan Ummah Sejahtera Malaysia (PasMa), a cell within the party, for the purpose of strengthening the opposition pact. – April 14, 2015.