PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Unmoved by criticisms of his rejection of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as a candidate for Selangor Mentri Besar, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang explained why he thought her unqualified for the post and he told detractors that they can leave the party if they are unhappy with his stance.
"When there are mosquitoes inside, we cannot even sleep soundly," he said, alluding to the disgruntled members at a gathering in Terengganu to brief mem.bers on issues affecting the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
He said they could join the alternative PasMa or any new party.
"If they so wish, they can set up their own party," he added in response to a question on the new organisation that some PAS leaders set up last month called PasMa (short for Persatuan Ummah Sejahtera Malaysia).
On why he did not follow the decision of the PAS central committee to endorse PKR president Dr Wan Azizah and her deputy Azmin Ali as Selangor Mentri Besar nominees, Hadi said that he as party president had discretionary powers.
As stipulated in the PAS constitution, he said, he could make certain decisions, and he just did not think that Dr Wan Azizah was fit for the post.
Someone who cannot perform well in Parliament and the state assembly and cannot carry on a dialogue with the opposition is no leader, Hadi said.
"The reason we rejected the candidate in Selangor is because she is not qualified... unable to be the administrator of the Selangor state government which requires someone strong.
"That is the reason, and not because she is a woman."
Asked to comment, DAP Wanita chief Chong Eng said Hadi should not judge Dr Wan Azizah even before she took up the post.
Her PKR counterpart Zuraida Kamaruddin accused Hadi of being insincere.
"If he was sincere he would have expressed his reservations through internal channels," she said.
Referring to previous clashes within the party, Hadi said: "Leaders left, but the party remained."
He said PAS survived its worst storms when the founding president, secretary-general and central committee members left the party during crises in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.