ALOR SETAR, KEDAH - As PAS president Hadi Awang secures full control of his party, stars are aligning for his eldest son, Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi.
Mr Khalil, a 40-year-old doctorate student, won the post of PAS youth chief unopposed. A religious scholar educated in Yemen and Britain, Mr Khalil is known for his ability to deliver spontaneous religious lectures. Fluent in Arabic and English, Mr Khalil speaks with calm and clarity, quite unlike his father's firebrand manner.
Married with two children, he often uses his religious credentials to meld politics with Islam.
"When we give votes to candidates who want Islam, that means we are fulfilling our duties to be political in accordance with Islam," Mr Khalil told a Malay news site during twin by-elections in Selangor and Perak in June last year.
He does not court controversy and echoes his father's views, for example, by saying that PAS can face the polls on its own, without other opposition parties.
Born and raised in Terengganu as the oldest of 11 children from Datuk Hadi's first wife, Mr Khalil said his involvement with PAS began in his teenage days. His ascension within PAS is unsurprising as Mr Hadi is keeping his most trustworthy lieutenants close as the party gears itself for the next general election.
Mr Khalil takes the youth chief baton from a fellow political blueblood Nik Abduh Nik Aziz, son of the late revered spiritual leader of PAS, Nik Aziz Nik Mat.