Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nik Aziz dubs Mat Sabu as PAS engine to Putrajaya

Mat Sabu won the deputy presidency in commanding fashion. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat believes the road to Putrajaya is now clear with PAS’s new line-up, stressing newly elected deputy president Mohamed Sabu will be the engine that drives the party forward.

Nik Aziz also stressed that the federal capital is within Pakatan Rakyat (PR) grasp if the coming general election is free and fair.

“The road to Putrajaya is becoming more clear… if democracy is conducted properly then there is no reason that PAS and Pakatan Rakyat cannot get to Putrajaya,” “he said an interview with his party newspaper Harakah today.

“Mohamad Sabu is the engine, Tuan Guru Haji Hadi is the driver and we are all the passengers,” he added.

Mohamad, popularly known as Mat Sabu, won the party deputy presidency with 420 votes in Friday’s election, leading a group of progressive leaders to counter conservatives who prefer to link up with Umno.

The popular grassroots leader defeated incumbent Nasharudin Mat Isa, who received 224 votes, and vice-president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man who came second with 399 votes. A total of 1,100 delegates voted in this year’s party elections.

The election was billed as a contest between the party’s conservative ulama faction and the professionals (dubbed the Erdogans in a reference to progressive Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan).

The Erdogans have also been labelled the “Anwarites” because of their support for PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who wields influence in PAS through his preaching of pragmatic Islam and moderation, along with support from Nik Aziz.

Utusan Malaysia had also been at the forefront of a campaign this past week to support the ulamas or scholars group in the PAS elections but Mohamed led the progressive group to sweep the party’s top posts and nearly half of the central working committee.

Today, Nik Aziz also said the sensationalised media coverage over the two factions showed that Umno was scared of the new leadership.

Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times as well as MCA’s The Star have lamented the ulama group’s loss and lack of talk about Islamic state as a sign the party was abandoning its Islamist principles — the very issues the newspapers have used to paint PAS as a backward party.

“When mentioning Islam, it must be linked to politics. When there is politics then there must be a government. Therefore, a government must have professionals.

“Umno is the only one that separates between ulama and professionals. This is because they (Umno) only have professionals but no ulamas,” Nik Aziz said.

Today, Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin accused PAS of straying from its Islamic roots, attacking the Islamist party for failing to make a sex video allegedly involving Anwar a major focus in its muktamar.

He also mocked the welfare state that was the central theme of the three-day PAS assembly, saying the concept was one already achieved and surpassed by the ruling BN government.

Despite his criticisms, however, Muhyiddin said Umno would still welcome PAS to join it in a unity government.

By Asrul Hadi Abdulla Sani TMI

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