|Husam confirms contesting No 2 post|
|Abdul Rahim Sabri & Hafiz Yatim | May 25, 09 12:40pm|
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PAS vice-president Husam Musa has confirmed that he will contest the deputy president’s post, now held by Nasharuddin Mt Isa, during the party polls early next month.
Fellow vice-president Mohammad Sabu is also a candidate for the post.
It will no easy task for Husam to dislodge Nasharuddin, said to be in the pro-muqabalah faction which favours forging relationships with the rival Umno rather than strengthening ties within Pakatan Rakyat.
While Nasharuddin is a religious scholar, Husam is an economist who does not appear to have the Islamic credentials required to lead the party.
Breaking months of silence, Husam made the announcement at a press conference this morning at the party headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur.
Seen as being in the Pro-Pakatan Rakyat or ‘Erdogan’ faction, Husam cautioned party members “not to dance to Umno’s tune, some particular media and the outsiders” who want to influence the results for the party leadership.
Erdogan refers to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is known to be a moderate Islamic leader.
Husam said he is confident of his ability to be a good leader – one who can support and complement party president, Abdul Hadi Awang in leading PAS to develop politically and replace Umno as the main political party in the near future.
“After considering all aspects, including the aspirations of the various PAS areas which have nominated me, I have decided to accept the nomination as a candidate for the deputy presidency for the 2009-11 term,” he said.
“I also pledge my loyalty to Abdul Hadi, Mursyidul Am (spiritual adviser) Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and the Syura council.”
Given the realities of politics today, he said, this could be an opportune time for PAS to replace Umno as the dominant political party. However, this can only be achieved if PAS remains a rival to Umno and not an ally in any form.
“The trust that non-Muslims have placed in PAS is flourishing, and we should not betray such trust in the context of dakwah or political strength. We can become a party that is trusted along with our allies in Pakatan, and stand tall with them,” he said.
“It (my intention) to contest is final,” he said.
Asked to explain the ‘unity government’ concept suggested by Abdul Hadi (right), Husam declined to do so, saying he does not want to be drawn into a complex topic.
As to whether he sees himself as a liberal leader, Husam commented that Nasharudin has been liberal – “at times too liberal when leaning towards Umno, and this cannot be accepted”.
“In my opinion, PAS needs to be in the centre, and we need not be too open to Umno or save Umno,” he said.
Asked to comment on the views of deputy spiritual leader Dr Haron Din (left) who has warned the party about “traitors” within, Husam attributed this to being Haron’s “personal view”.
“I know that the paper he presented (at a seminar) was his own… If it has yet to be accepted… we don’t need to debate or comment on it,” he said.
On Saturday, Haron had warned members to be wary of PAS leaders who are sponsored by “enemies including Umno and foreign agents”who may be playing a part in the upcoming party elections.
He had suggested that the party tightens the mechanism of choosing leaders in order to stop the “traitors” from rising up the ranks.
Meanwhile, information chief Mahfuz Omar has confirmed he will mount a challenge for one of the three slots for vice-president, now that Mohamad and Husam are vacating their posts.
“I am not representing any faction but just interested in serving the party and lifting it to greater heights,” Mahfuz said.
The party is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow at which the candidacy for all posts will be formally announced.