Leave PAS If You Don’t Agree With Ulama, Party Veteran Tells Members

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 – A veteran PAS leader in Penang has told members who disagree with the ulama faction to leave the Islamist party, which is in the midst of an internal crisis. Former state PAS leader Mohamed Nordin Mohd Nor, speaking for a group of unhappy party members supporting party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, hit out at those who attacked the party’s ulama or Islamic scholars. “We cannot accept what they are doing. If they are unhappy with the ulama leadership of the party, they should just leave PAS.

“Don’t come and stir things up. It shows bad character to challenge the leadership the way they are openly doing,” he said in Butterworth today. Citing party central committee member Khalid Samad who had said that PAS members who could not accept the Pakatan Rakyat’s decision on the Selangor menteri besar issue should leave the party, Nordin said: “I now say he should be the one to leave. Where is his loyalty to the ulama leadership? “Those like him should go and there will be many young ulama to take over from them,” he said.

Nordin, who was deputy Penang PAS commissioner in 1991 and 1992 and later state secretary until he left the state leadership in 1999, said PAS should continue to be led by the ulama who are well-versed in religious matters, and not the professionals in the party. “The party constitution does not say the party top leadership must be from the ulama faction but it states that the highest law for the party is the Quran. “The secular faction does not understand Islam, the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet. The faction cannot lead PAS towards achieving its struggle to follow the laws of the religion and to build this nation according to Islamic principles,” he said.

Nordin said some in the party had been wary of the secular faction for years. “These are the people who have caused the rot in PAS and today they are under the name PasMa (a new and more liberal group recently formed by some party members). “We see this as a way to destroy PAS from within… and it all started from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” he said. Nordin said the opposition leader and PKR de facto leader was the cause of PAS’s current internal woes when he gave face to DAP, which had always objected to PAS’s Islamic state ambition. DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had said that his party would never work with PAS if it continued to pursue its Islamic state agenda, he added.

“Anwar started it… it meant that the Islamic state agenda had to be put aside for the time being because Guan Eng was unhappy with it,” he said, adding that this led to many questioning the ulama leadership in 2009. Even former party vice-presidents Ustaz Ahmad Awang and Mohamad Sabu (Mat Sabu) had reportedly said the top positions, including president and deputy president, were not exclusive to the ulama, he said. “Information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar also said so, adding that all positions were open to all party members.

“After that, (Penang PAS deputy commissioner) Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who is relatively a newbie in the party, said it was time to strengthen the ulama leadership with a new name.” Nordin also named other notable PAS leaders like central working committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and vice-president Datuk Husam Musa as those trying to shake things up in the party. PAS’s internal problems were fuelled by the ongoing Selangor MB issue when Hadi Awang disagreed with his PR colleagues over the naming of PKR president and Anwar’s wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as a candidate for menteri besar.

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