Confusion over PAS' intentions in Selangor

PAS chief Abdul Hadi Awang is on the syura council.
PAS chief Abdul Hadi Awang is on the syura council.

KUALA LUMPUR • Umno yesterday received a present for its 71st birthday from foe-turned-friend Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which issued confusing statements about its working ties in Selangor.

The Islamist party's highest decision-making body, the syura (consultative) council, said the party is severing ties with fellow opposition group Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the lead party that governs Selangor.

The syura council is made up of PAS' most senior clerics, including president Abdul Hadi Awang, spiritual leader Hashim Jasin and ulama (clerics) wing chief Mahfodz Mohamed.

Still, the syura council's secretary, Datuk Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh, told reporters yesterday that issues to do with administering Selangor state would be decided by the PAS central committee. This could mean that the party might ultimately decide to carry on as usual.

PAS has severed ties with the other main opposition parties and with the PKR at the national level, but still works with the PKR in Selangor. PAS holds three state Cabinet posts in Selangor, helps to run its town councils and controls its mosques.

The most senior PAS chief in Selangor, Mr Sallehen Mukhyi, said yesterday that the party will continue as usual until the next general election.

PKR warned two weeks ago that if PAS cut ties, the three Selangor executive councillors must quit their posts.

For voters, the yes-no-maybe decision is likely to be read as more bickering in the opposition camp.

The syura council's decision came a week after delegates at its annual congress asked PAS leaders to sever ties with PKR, citing its lack of support for the party's Islamic agenda and a PKR leader's allegation that Umno paid PAS millions of dollars.

PAS is warming up to Umno for supporting its Islamic agenda.

It remains unclear if the council's decision will lead to PAS and PKR putting up candidates against one another at the upcoming polls, which would hand a big advantage to the third party in such fights, Umno.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2017, with the headline 'Confusion over PAS' intentions in Selangor'. Print Edition | Subscribe