COMMENT | The results are in for the 67th PAS muktamar held in Kuala Terengganu over the past few days. They feature the return of incumbents in senior leadership positions and familiar seasoned faces in the party’s central leadership working committee.

This party election comes after a changing of the guard at the youth level with last week’s vote of a new crop of leaders.

With few obvious changes at the national level, it would seem as if things are the same in the Islamist party ruled by its president Abdul Hadi Awang.

The status quo politics of the party have less to do with the results, which point to internal differences, but the consistencies in how the party engages allies and holds onto an outdated conservative social policy agenda.

In understanding developments in PAS, it is useful to appreciate the broader shifts (and reversals) the party is making in its alliance relationships, branding and national policy orientation.

PAS’s recent muktamar points to a party torn in how to position itself in an increasingly competitive and complex political context, and one, through its adoption of even more exclusionary ethno-religious positions, is placing itself more on the margins at the height of its national power.

Endorsement of Hadi?

On the surface, the muktamar results showcase the dominance of party president Hadi, whose position has been secure since the split in the party of 2015 that led to the formation of Amanah.

It has been Hadi’s way or the highway on most...

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