IT IS normal to see a contest for top positions in a political party that emerges triumphant from national and state elections. Apparently, this isn’t so for PAS which will holding its muktamar (annual general assembly) in Shah Alam from Oct 20-22.
The Islamist party holds its internal elections every two years. This year is an elective year but when nominations closed late last month, its secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan announced that there would be no contests for the top five positions.
That meant the posts of president, deputy president and three vice-president posts do not have contenders.
There was nevertheless a nomination of Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor for the post of vice-president but he declined it.
It transpires that other posts in the hierarchy of the party such as for the Youth and Wanita positions will likewise be uncontested. The only contests that would be held are for positions in the central working committee (CWC), the springboard from which interested members vie for positions in the top hierarchy.
No doubt, the contests for places in the CWC will be keen but with no contests elsewhere in the hierarchy, the edge will be missing simply because of the absence of competition for posts in the top hierarchy.
‘Ready to wrest control’
After doing very well in the 15th General Election (GE15) in November last year and in the Aug 12 six states polls, it would appear that PAS is keen to demonstrate that its successful candidates are not ambitious to test their popularity within the party.
In this way, the party hopes to project a unified image of its candidates placing the party’s collective interest above individual preference. This image is in the interest of showing the national electorate that PAS is a party of cohesion and ready to take over the reins of federal governance.
The not infrequent voicings of party president Tan Sri Hadi Awang that there can be a change in the federal government from being currently held by the 14-party coalition led by PKR’s president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to one led by Perikatan Nasional (PN) of which PAS, Bersatu and Gerakan are members, are murmurings that are not unfounded.
By projecting a unified image at the coming muktamar of cohesion and solidarity, PAS is showing that it is in deadly earnest about ruling the country.
True, it does not mean when there are no contests at the elective assembly of big national party, there are no fissures and dissensions within it.
It can also be true if there are contests and competition, it does not necessarily mean the party is ready to fragment and fracture. It all depends on the maturity of the leaders and electors – and how they view their mission.
Through their “no contest” decision for the top posts, PAS is showing that its sense of a national mission is weighty and grave. The rest of the country must take note. – Oct 2, 2023
Terence Netto is a journalist with 50 years in an occupation that demands resistance to fleeting impressions.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.