New party? PAS progressives 'would only weaken opposition'

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and his deputy Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (above) earlier this month emerged victorious in the opposition party's internal polls, in which progressive leaders were sidelined in favour of the ulamas.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and his deputy Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (above) earlier this month emerged victorious in the opposition party's internal polls, in which progressive leaders were sidelined in favour of the ulamas.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang (above) and his deputy Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man earlier this month emerged victorious in the opposition party's internal polls, in which progressive leaders were sidelined in favour of the ulamas.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang (above) and his deputy Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man earlier this month emerged victorious in the opposition party's internal polls, in which progressive leaders were sidelined in favour of the ulamas.

KUALA LUMPUR - Parti Islam SeMalaysia's (PAS) newly elected deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has poured cold water on the plans by a group of 18 progressive leaders within to form a new political party, following a rift among its members.

Datuk Tuan Ibrahim acknowledged that it was the democratic right of the informal group, known as the G18, to form a political party but the progressive leaders should not do so just because they lost in the PAS polls.

The G18 - who were ousted at the party elections earlier this month - are eyeing the possibility of forming a new party which aims to promote progressive Islamist politics and would work with the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

The DAP and PKR were part of PAS' Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance which collapsed following differences over PAS' move to push for hudud, the Islamic penal code, to be implemented in Kelantan.

Speaking to The Star, Mr Tuan Ibrahim also said having another party aligned to the opposition would only weaken the PR pact, not strengthen it.

"Setting up a party aligned to the opposition would create a conflict when it comes to contesting the general election," he said.

He also said that the group's leaders are still part of PAS and that they have to be wala, or loyal, to the party leadership and accept the election results with a big heart.

PAS has for months been hit by a faction war between the class of ulamas, or religious leaders, and the more moderate progressives. Those divisions came to a head at the party's internal polls, which saw the progressive group sidelined in favour of the ulamas.

Mr Tuan Ibrahim, however, dismissed the notion held by some that the party's decision-making would now be easier without the non-ulama faction.

"In fact, this is kind of a strength to the president. (Having a pro-ulama faction) does not mean they are 'yes men' to the president," he said.

Meanwhile, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said on Saturday that the party would press ahead with its hudud agenda in Kelantan.

He said the party was not budging from its stance and would amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) to enable hudud to be implemented, Bernama reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2015, with the headline 'New party? PAS progressives 'would only weaken opposition''. Print Edition | Subscribe