PETALING JAYA, 28 May 2009: The PAS Supporters Club will not be promoted to a wing at the party muktamar (general assembly) which starts on 5 June.
Instead, the matter is likely to be decided at an emergency assembly to be held later this year. If PAS admits the club as a dewan or wing, it would be the first Islamist party in the world to grant membership to non-Muslims.
The 50,000-strong club, which started in 2004, has been pushing for admission into the party. This was agreed to in principle at a PAS retreat in November 2008, and was to be raised as a motion in the coming muktamar.
Hu Pang Chaw
However, club president and co-founder Hu Pang Chaw says that the committee formed by the party leadership to study the matter was only set up in April, too short a time ago to consider the technicalities involved.
These include the question of full or associate membership in PAS, voting rights and rights to representation in the central working committee.
PAS unity bureau chief Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa confirmed with The Nut Graph that the club’s admission into the party would be put off till a special muktamar was convened this year so as not to distract from the PAS elections.
Hu said the delay was understandable because of the elections which are shaping up to be a keenly-fought contest, especially for the deputy president’s post.
He is optimistic that the club will be elevated to a wing as non-Muslim support for PAS had been proven in the 2008 general election and in the recent by-elections, especially in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election which PAS won by a 2,789 -vote majority against Barisan Nasional.
“PAS realises that without non-Muslims, the party cannot play an important role in Malaysia,” Hu told The Nut Graph.
On muzakarah or unity talks with Umno which has the support of the conservative faction in PAS, Hu said the majority of club members were against cooperating with Umno.
“They feel that if that is the case, they might as well join MCA, MIC or Gerakan.”
A unity government with Umno was proposed by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who retains his post uncontested this year. Another strong proponent is deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa, a religious scholar, who is being challenged by “liberals” and non-clerics Datuk Husam Musa and Mohamad Sabu in this year’s party elections.
The deputy president’s race is being fought on the muzakarah-with-Umno platform. Husam and Mohamad Sabu are against it while Nasharuddin has been silent in the run-up to the party polls.
Hu recognises that this muktamar will shape the party’s future, given the elections and debate about “leadership by ulama” versus professionals.
Hu said the club had no problems with the party president being led by an ulama, but also wanted professionals in the other positions to ensure a balance of views.
He said the club had received 100 invitations to attend the muktamar next week.
The club will also have its national-level convention in Klang on 30 May. PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat will launch the convention.