Malaysia's opposition PAS VP Husam backs down from leadership challenge

Malaysia's opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia's (PAS) vice-president Husam Musa will defend his vice-presidency in the upcoming PAS polls next month, ending speculation that he would put up a bid for the president's post. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS
Malaysia's opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia's (PAS) vice-president Husam Musa will defend his vice-presidency in the upcoming PAS polls next month, ending speculation that he would put up a bid for the president's post. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia's (PAS) vice-president Husam Musa will defend his vice-presidency in the upcoming PAS polls next month, ending speculation that he would put up a bid for the president's post.

Datuk Husam said on Monday although he was also nominated for the top post and the deputy presidency, he believed that the party needed to be helmed by an ulama leader.

"I would like to apologise to those who have placed their big hope in me as I would just like to defend my current post," he said in a statement on Monday.

"As the generation that was born under the ulama leadership in 1982, I still believe that the foundation of the party lies on the ulama leadership," he added.

Husam on Monday also cautioned that the party should not be caught in a trap laid out by their political opponents from achieving their goals as enshrined in the party constitution.

He said that the Islamist party's roadmap to win the federal government and its approach of 'PAS For All' which was set up to win the hearts of non-Muslims had been decided collectively by the party, and not by any individual.

Although he did not refer to any individual in his statement, his remark is believed to be directed at Kelantan Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah. Mohd Amar was reported to have said that Putrajaya was not as important as the implementation of hudud in Kelantan.

PAS is a member of the three-party Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition alliance. Many observers believe the PR alliance is now fraying, particularly over the party's recent push of hudud or Islamic law in Kelantan, a move that has angered alliance partner the Democractic Action Party (DAP).

"What has been achieved by the PAS struggle today is a continuation of the approach, strategies and methods that have been decided by our leaders at all levels," said Husam.

Husam's decision means that there will be a straight fight for the president's post between Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and his contender PAS veteran Ahmad Awang.

Ahmad, is a former Perak PAS commissioner and has also served as the party's vice-president.

There will also be a straight fight between incumbent deputy president Mohamad Sabu and Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man for the deputy president's post.

The nominees for all central positions contested have until Tuesday to inform the party of their decisions.