#Highlight* A big lesson for PAS and status quo of sorts

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Last Updated: 7:05am, Nov 25, 2013

ONE lesson for PAS: Get your election committee in tip top condition as running an election is not easy. Although they have done this many times before, there were “hiccups” this time. And PAS can be rest assured, Umno and the EC even will rub it on them.

A quick recap. Polling for the deputy presidency, vice president posts and central committee was scheduled to take place Friday – simultaneously. All results to be announced Saturday morning.

As we know it did not happened like that. Instead only election for the posts of deputy president and VP went on as planned. Polling for central committee had to be rescheduled -- moved to the next say – due to “technical glitches”.

The entire party election committee led by chairman Asmuni Awi took full responsibility, apologised and tendered their resignation. The PAS leadership however rejected the resignation and accepted the committee’s apology.

The “glitch“ – apparently a problem with the ballot papers – was rectified and voting for the 18 central committee posts went on smoothly Saturday. The results and that for the deputy presidency contest were announced also Saturday.

But not the results of the VP race. There was a recount and the election committee said results can only be announced the next day – Sunday - being the last day of the muktamar. And come Sunday it was announced as promised.

So the big casualty was Datuk Mahfuz Omar. MP for Pokok Sena. Edged out from the PAS vice presidency. Where did he go wrong?

“There’s nothing wrong with Mahfuz,” said a party insider going on to say: “In fact he carried out his duties remarkably well and is a work horse”. And he is also a well-known figure outside PAS –seen as outspoken and approachable.

Then why did he lose? “We are spoilt for choice really. Delegates wanted Tuan Ibrahim .He is very popular and feel its time he contribute to the party as vice president. So one incumbent had to make way,“ said the PAS insider.

“Tuan Ibrahim“ is of course Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, PAS information chief. Hence the VP lineup now reads: Salahuddin Ayub, Tuan Ibrahim and Datuk Husam Musa. In that order based on the number of votes obtained.

Where does that put Mahfuz?   Many delegates are hoping for Mahfuz to be appointed to the Dewan Harian – a strategy making body comprising party president, his deputy, the three VPs, heads of the youth, women and ulamak wings, information chief as well as director of elections.

Political observers see Mahfuz  be given a big role in taking care of the Kedah PAS  problem which delegates at the muktamar said was “cancerous “ and the infighting had contributed to the downfall of the PAS led Kedah state government at GE13.

Mahfuz, according to observers “fit the bill“ to close the ranks and rejuvenate  Kedah PAS with the aim of wresting it from the BN. He is afterall Kedah born and current MP from the state. And his experience will come in handy. Still no easy feat.

Another big name to miss the boat was Datuk Nik Amar Abdullah who failed to unseat Mohamad Sabu (aka Mat Sabu). To observers, Nik Amar who is also deputy Kelantan Menteri Besar“ is more valuable in Kelantan to assist the MB run the state.“

PAS, delegates or otherwise share that view. In fact that was the talk even before  party election that “Nik Amar must help (Menteri Besar) Datuk Ahmad Yakob and make sure Kelatan remain under PAS even after the resignation of Tok Guru (Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat ).“

As for the newly appointed leadership, it’s more of a status quo, give and take a “new” name here and there. It’s more of KEKAL rather than UBAH.

Datuk Seri Abdul Awang is still president – uncontested of course, Mat Sabu remains number two. Tuan Ibrahim, although new as a VP, is not new in the party and is seen as an ulama, not in the mould of the likes of hardliner Datuk Harun Taib.

The 18 central committee is almost the same as the one which took office two years ago and enjoyed a good working relation with PAS’ allies in Pakatan Rakyat in contesting GE13.

It’s a combination of religious scholars and a group some call professionals, progressives, liberals, Erdogans (after Turkish PM Tayyib Erdogan) and even Anwarinas.

To them, such labelling in particular “Anwarinas“ and “liberals“ is the work of detractors and enemies of the party aimed at driving  a wedge in PAS and Pakatan. That didn’t work they said as “PAS could see through such tactics and delegates want continuity“.

Now that the party have the team they want the focus now is on winning GE14 with Pakatan, said PAS insiders.,

But first they must address problems brought into the open by delegates at the muktamar. Problems like the “no voice“ complaint by its members in Sabah and Sarawak ,grouses of its  Supporters Congress,  the failure to act fast enough to arrest the infighting  as was the case in in Kedah and “arrogance” seeping in the party.

Incidentally, Umno owned Utusan Malaysia has described the victory of Mat Sabu and Co as “a victory for PKR and DAP’.

Obviously detractors are not smiling over the PAS election results.

Mohsin Abdullah is a specialist writer at fz.com. He likes rojak. And nasi campur. And durians. Perhaps that’s why he writes about this, that and everything else. Pretty much rojak and nasi campur. As for his writings, well, they can be like durians. Aromatic and delicious to some people, smelly and off-putting to others.
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