Victory of the 'Erdogans' bodes well for Pakatan

Bridget Welsh

Modified 4 Jun 2011, 10:36 am

COMMENT There was a sense of excitement in the air in Gombak this morning as the results of the PAS party polls were announced. It is a truly historic day for PAS and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

Stalwart Mohamed Sabu defeated his two contenders for the deputy position (by 21 votes), three non-ulama leaders - Salahudin Ayub, Mahfuz Omar and Husam Musa - were elected vice-presidents, and non-ulama leaders secured two-thirds (12 out of 18) of the slots in the party’s central committee.

The progressive forces in PAS has secured a major victory, overturning the Terengganu dominance of the party. This is the first non-ulama leadership team - except for Abdul Hadi Awang of course - since the 1982 coup against nationalist PAS president Mohamad Asri Muda, where it was stated that there should never be non-ulama leaders occupying the top posts.

The progressive forces have defeated parochial tendencies and offered a more dynamic Malay leadership for the increasingly sophisticated electorate. While the ulama still play a key role and it remains dominant in the Youth wing, the rank-and-file in the party have decisively embraced the ‘spirit of Cairo’ - the desire to stand up to power and embrace change...

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