PAS chief urges members to stay loyal

KUALA LUMPUR - Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang yesterday issued an open letter warning party members seeking new political platforms that they would "sink" in their new ships.

The open letter issued to PAS members and uploaded on the website of the party's mouthpiece, Harakahdaily, urged them to stay loyal to the party's Islamic struggle, abide by its principles and be aware of its history.

"Those who follow PAS' journey or read its history would see the twists and turns of its struggle, and the fall of even its highest leaders, ordinary members or even supporters, sinking either alone or along with the party or group that became their ship," said Datuk Seri Hadi, according to the Malay Mail Online.

The letter did not make a direct reference to any individuals, but the party has been wracked for months by a faction war between the class of ulamas, or religious leaders, and the more moderate progressives.

Mr Hadi's warning came after this month's party elections, which saw the progressive group sidelined in favour of the ulamas when the conservatives seized control of 22 out of 23 posts open for contest.

Since then, some 18 PAS progressive leaders who were ousted in the elections and now call themselves the G18 have said they are eyeing the formation of a new political platform that would promote progressive Islamist politics.

The G18's secretary, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, on Monday told The Malaysian Insider that the group was looking to bring together Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for this purpose.

He said it was open to working with the Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Democratic Action Party (DAP).

The two parties were part of PAS' Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance which collapsed following PAS' decision to sever ties with the DAP, leading the DAP to declare that the PR had ceased to exist.

Pasma, an opposition-friendly NGO, this month said it is looking to recruit members for a new party to replace PAS in the PR.

Yesterday, its president, Datuk Phahrolrazi Zawawi, told The Malaysian Insider that it would cooperate with PAS' G18 group and other Muslim NGOs to form the new party.

"We will join the G18 and other Islamic NGOs to form a new party to replace PAS and to form a new alliance," he was quoted as saying.

He added that the group had held discussions with the G18 on the matter and would make an announcement after Hari Raya.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'PAS chief urges members to stay loyal'. Subscribe