PAS wrapped up their party polls yesterday with Hadi Awang, the incumbent President since 2002, swept the positions with the pro-ulama faction leaving the so-called professionals biting the dust. The professionals faction had a poor showing. Mat Sabu, the ex-Deputy President, as well as the ex-VPs in Husam Musa, Mahfuz Omar and Sallehudin Ayub all lost their positions. Central committee members like Khalid Samad, Mohammad Hanipa Maidin and Dr Dzukelfy Ahmad also lost their positions. These were members who were critical of Hadi and vocal against his position of unilateral decisions in the Kelantan hudud issue and of PAS relationship with Pakatan, particularly DAP.
Indeed the polls have given clarity to the direction of PAS members. Although the professionals faction garnered about 20% of the votes, it is now crystal clear where the members want the party to head. They want a firm leadership like Hadi who can stand his ground against other parties and head down a path that the old warrior of Nik Aziz will not travel, namely, a path of cooperation with Umno.
With Hadi remaining at the helm, it also helps Pakatan to be clear of what to do next. DAP will have to cut ties with PAS for sure this time. There is no way Lim Guan Eng will continue entertaining the whims of Hadi and it is sure to signal a breakage in the Pakatan pact. PKR will not be able to hold them together as the glue was Anwar who is now incarcerated. The coming days will see the various parties having to make the hard decision to kick PAS out of the Pakatan group and suffer the consequences. PAS has said that they can win their political war alone without the help of others but that remains as a hollow rhetoric.
The PAS polls result also gives clarity to the voters who had voted PAS candidates in the past in the spirit of supporting Pakatan to win. The next General Election will see them vote otherwise for sure. It is refreshing to gain clarity for once to know the real color of PAS with Hadi remaining at the helm. It gives assurance to PAS members where they will go next. It tells Malay voters how to choose in the next GE. It tells non-Muslim voters the real PAS with no double talk. The voters benefit from clarity to choose next time.
What may happen next is the possible major event to happen is to see PasMa register as a political party made up of those who are not happy with PAS direction under Hadi. The professionals who lost will never regain power in PAS and fighting their cause inside PAS will be a waste of their time and talent. Their other option is to join PKR and DAP. If PasMa and DAP can strike an agreement, DAP can benefit from the inclusion of PasMa to become a truly Malaysian political party which is not dominated by a single ethnic group. As long as they can fight on a common platform for all Malaysians regardless of race and creed, it will be a good lift off point for the future of Malaysia.
However, mergers in politics are difficult actions and collaboration will be the easier path where PasMa will replace PAS in Pakatan. Thereby, each will continue their agenda with the common ideas being the driving force of Pakatan. There will be not much difference from the past as the PAS leaders who favor the partnership with Pakatan are the ones who lost in yesterday's polls. They will continue to join forces with Pakatan in view of winning the GE but on a new PasMa platform.
The post-polls period will see a break in PAS in the form of PasMa as a political party made up of those so-called professional members who envision a strong Opposition pact in Pakatan. What this will do to PAS will see them head down a path of stronger religious fervor to implement more of their version of Syariah and imposition of their views on non-Muslims to show that they are more Islamic than Umno. The age old “holier than thou” card will continue to be played by PAS as that will be the only ideas they have in the 21st century as can be seen in the recent flood disaster in Kelantan. The ulama have poor professional and administrative skills to lead a state and country and not having any strength in English and international politics will force them straight down the Syariah path. Look at Kelantan and one can see the future of PAS politics in the country. They are incapable of growing economically, financially and socially while they do not stand out religiously.
For now, it appears gloom and doom for PAS but maybe Hadi can still pull a rabbit out of his hat. Don't write him off just yet. Just watch PAS in the coming days.