With reference to the recent 50th PAS muktamar, ustaz Abdul Hadi Awang looks as if he is in a pickle. He doesn't seem to know what is going on and to me, he has lost the plot. In other words, with regards to his relevance in challenging and countering the ruling coalition, he is a spent force.
However, I also believe that PAS members are being too hard on him and the massive loss of support for PAS, especially among the younger generation is more due to clever manipulation of the media than to any fundamental failure of PAS.
Lest we all forget, the recent general election has been the most scandalous and tainted we've ever had. There are still many unanswered questions and all has now been conveniently swept under the carpet. Did Barisan National really do that well?
It is not Hadi's fault if his clear, principled mind cannot anticipate the tactics of his 'resourceful' opponent. Some of the latter's gymnastic maneuvers almost defy gravity and belief but as they say, only a thief can catch a thief.
But Hadi and Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat are not of that disposition or ilk and therefore have had to face the embarrassment of unfathomable defeat.
I have a wake-up call for PAS if they want to remain in the forefront of Malay politics. Their platform based on religious strength and correctness is now wearing thin among most Malays.
In a nutshell, many Malays can't be bothered to enter into discourse on the niceties of marital rape but they are more than willing to predict who will be knocked out in this year's Malaysian Idol competition.
If you were to observe the recent Akademi Fantasia season, the show's ability to galvanise and move the mass Malay audience into voting and generally getting very excited can only be described as a phenomenon.
If only the same interest and dedication could be channeled into more erstwhile pursuits. It is mass escapism at its best, and the success of TV3's Sure Heboh concerts, SMS contests and Siti Nurhaliza fandom etc. all testify to this.
The strategy is therefore to get the Malays 'drunk' on fun and entertainment and hope that they do not wake up from their stupor. Their euphoric and 'forgetful' state plus PAS' insistence on maintaining a religious slant on every perceived aberration makes the party a poor companion.
PAS therefore has to become less doctrine-centred and more result oriented. Once in a while, they must close one eye - or in their case, take off their kopiah - to be just able to connect with the masses.
It is a reality that PAS has to face for as things stand they are just playing into BN's hands.