THE domination of the ulama (Muslim cleric) clan in PAS will linger on contrary to the expectation of retired DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang who has called on the Islamist party’s head honcho Tan Sri Hadi Awang (main pic, right) to give way to Terengganu Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar (main pic, left) to lead the party.
Kit Siang has rationalised that under Samsuri who is a technocrat, PAS will eventually switch to a more moderate and modernist stance from that of being extremist and fundamentalist.
While he is unable to read Kit Siang’s true intention at making such remarks, PAS central committee member Dr Mohd Zuhdi Marsuki who is renowned for his moderateness accepts that Kit Siang does not like PAS to be under Hadi’s leadership as his son Lim Guan Eng had remarked some time back that “DAP can accept PAS but not the PAS president”.
“What is also clear is that today, Malaysian politics is witnessing a fierce clash between PAS and DAP,” penned the academician-turned-politician in a Facebook post.
“The intense clash between PAS and DAP is becoming more and more open whereby in every election including the recent Kemaman by-election, Malay voters are more and more inclined to be in solidarity with PN (Perikatan Nasional), especially PAS.”
“On the other hand, the Chinese voters as observed in previous polls solidly rallied behind PH (Pakatan Harapan), especially DAP. In another sense, the clash between PAS and DAP can be seen as a clash between Islamic politics and chauvinist politics.”
Mohd Zuhdi further described Muslim clerics who are the core PAS leaders today as the “torch bearers of PAS’ struggle”.
“They are the ideologues who frame the struggle while the technocrats or professionals materialise such struggle with their political activism and social life,” he explained. “The role of Muslim scholars remains relevant in PAS to ensure that the narrative brought is ideological. Therefore, the ulama leadership within PAS will not end as envisaged by DAP.”
In fact, during the PAS internal crisis from 2008 to 2015, Mohd Zuhdi re-capped that there was a group that tried to usurp the ulama leadership in PAS.
“They made push after push by highlighting technocrat or professional figures to lead PAS. Their reason was that fellow members of the then PR (Pakatan Rakyat) coalition were more comfortable with technocrats or professionals while the scholars were said to be stagnant and narrow-minded, exactly as how Kit Siang has pointed out,” explained Mohd Zuhdi.
“However, PAS members didn’t fall for the pro-DAP narrative by the DAP-friendly quarters. Interestingly, their desire to topple the ulama leadership was a flop and they were finally thrown out of the PAS general assembly in 2015.”
Fast forward to today, the technocrats and professionals in PAS continue to flourish under the umbrella of the ulama leadership, according to Mohd Zuhdi.
“The three MB from four PAS-rule states, including Samsuri himself, are technocrats and professionals. In essence, PAS continues to be strong with scholars as ideologues who frame the party while the technocrats and professionals materialise our agenda,” he added. – Dec 5, 2023
Main pic credit: Tan Sri Hadi Awang’s Facebook