Friday, March 13, 2015
Hadi dare Mat Sabu to take him on?
Yesterday, Syura Ulama Council of PAS announced Dato Dr Haron Din as the new Spiritual Leader or Mursyidul Am of PAS to replace the deceased Dato Nik Aziz Nik Mat.
That announcement frustrated the PASMA faction. MyKMU writer Mc T [read in FMT here] believed PASMA wanted Dato Hadi Awang to be Mursyidul Am thus paving the way for an easy passage for Mat Sabu to fill up the vacancy.
Today's Sinar Harian frontpage headlined Hadi saying, "Jawatan Presiden boleh dicabar. Saya serah kepada ahli untuk pilih pemimpin yang layak ... kita tengok nanti macam mana." [The President post could be challenged. I leave it to the member to choose the qualified candidate ... we see what will happen.]
That could be a typical politically correct statement by any politician, but the manner Hadi said "...we will see what will happen" could be sending a loud message.
With Haron Din as Mursyidul Am and Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man running for number two, it could mean Hadi challenging Mat Sabu to take him and run for President.
Tuan Ibrahim announced his interest upon attempt by PAS Kota Baru to tempt him with a nomination for President. At this stage, there is usually lots of testing of water but this time around cards seemed to be laid out early in the game.
Already PAS Terengganu criticised PAS Kota Baru water testing as attempt to invoke a provocation. They may have misread Tuan Ibrahim critic of UMNO for dreaming of a unity Government at the recent Multaqa.
The Multaqa at the end of February saw an all out attack by the Ulamak faction on attempts to topple Hadi. It was a response to aggresive nationwide attack by PASMA and DAP towards Hadi. It is an open secret that PASMA pledged loyalty to DAP and Pakatan Rakyat in an official visit to Lim Guan Eng's office in mid-January.
It is believed that DAP had given commitment to provide financial assistance to the PASMA movement to unseat Hadi. PASMA President made police reports on various accusation but not on DAP's financial assistancce.
A video had gone viral of Mat Sabu instructing PASMA or used to be refered as Anwarinas activist to go on a direct person to person engagement to break the strong traditional Ulamak support at grassroot level.
That brought calls for Mat Sabu to be disciplined. However, it will not be easy as the Anwarinas that controlled Central Commitee may resist. Talk is the Anwarinas have placed someone from their faction to be Chairman of discipline committee and Charman of committee to administer the PAS party election process.
However, the important position of Secretary General as in Dato Mustapha Ali is still held by the Ulamak faction. It is heard that Mat Sabu had to meet Mustapha privately in London to resolve his problem.
Since the objective of PASMA is clearly to remove Hadi and promote Mat Sabu as PAS President, will Mat Sabu commit to do so?
Mat Sabu is a fighter and in his second attempt at Deputy President, the Dato Husam Musa team tried to persuade Mat Sabu to withdraw and not split the vote. His reply was said to be, "I rather die on the battlefield then withdraw."
He lost the first time to Dr Nasharuddin Mat Isa but end up winner in his second attempt with Tuan Ibrahim's help to split Nasharuddin's Hadi coat-tailed votes.
Mat Sabu defended the Deputy President post in the last Muktamar but with the line between the Ulamak and Anwarinas clearly drawn, Tuan Ibrahim has PAS tradition for "kepimpinan ulamak" blowing in his favour.
So, will Mat Sabu move up and choose to die on a higher battleground?
The PASMA's control in PAS is at the Central Committee level. They control Muslimah and part of Youth but it is only party wings serving operational role.
It is their control at the Divisional Committee level that will come in handy at party election and in taming the ulamak leaning grassroot. It is said that 60-70% of Divisions are controlling by the Erdogans, another name the PASMA and Anwarinas is called by.
They have influence and not to mention, opportunity to fix the next Divisional Committe line up and determine the delegates to vote the party leadershp at the Muktamar.
As one PAS activist told us, the process has similarity to past UMNO party election style and at the early stage, there is lots of testing of the water and manouvring going on. Although there are claims that PAS has emulated UMNO's money politics, it is not widespread.
The rather corruption practise will be when each candidate seek member's prayers (or doa) and everyone seemed obliged to pray for each other's success but in those words of support lies the coded words. It is corrupt as in playing around with religion and prayers.
One will expect incumbents like PASMA-linked Dato Husam Musa, and neither here nor there Salahuddin Ayub to defend their position. Hello! Hello! Hello! past VP Dato Mahfuz Omar is expected to try again.
The Ulamak faction seemed short of brand named leaders for Vice President and Central Committee positions but in a party election, the public acknowledgement is not relevant.
Nevertheless, one can aspect the Ulamak to forward strong names like MB Kelantan Dato Ahmad Yaacob, Deputy MB for Kelantan Dato Nik Amar, and former Information Chief Ustaz Idris Ahmad for Vice President candidate.
Nik Aziz's son, Nik Abduh is still a long shot for Vice President post and will need to spend more time at the Central Committee level. Positions in PAS are not inherited down as in UMNO. Off springs of past leaders still need to prove their mantle.
Many publicly unknown names will surface from the Ulamak faction to run for Central Committee and one will expect some gimmicks to gain attention.
Whatever that politicians do to gain votes, the interest now will be on whether Mat Sabu still has the guts that won him the Deputy Presidency to run against the President. He will be breaking the traditional Ulamak leadership at a time the Ulamak faction have sharpened their claws.
Look to the 18th when the Kelantan State Assembly convene to discuss hudud and an end of the month international forum in Rusila for hints of what is to come [read about in Joceline Tan's here and here].
* Edited 15/3/2015 8:00 AM
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