Spiritual leader calls for changing Malaysia's Islamist party leadership

Influential spiritual leader of Malaysia's opposition Islamist party called for the party to vote on changing the leadership.

Spiritual leader calls for changing Malaysia's Islamist party leadership

Influential spiritual leader of Malaysia's opposition Islamist party called for the party to vote on changing the leadership.

"I strongly feel that there needs to be a change in the major players in the party leadership," said Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the spiritual leader of the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), in a blog posting on Friday.

Nik Aziz wants his party firmly in the opposition, but party president Abdul Hadi Awang is in favour of cooperating with the government.

Both leaders control major chunks of the party's nearly one million members and a vote at a party extraordinary general meeting could split PAS, and weaken an opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim.

"I would not underrate the severity of this problem which has now been pushed right to the forefront," said Kamaruddin Jaafar, a member of PAS' central committee.

A proposal to cooperate was first discussed between government and senior PAS leaders, including Abdul Hadi, following last year's elections, which saw the ruling National Front coalition suffer its worst defeat in over 50 years of rule.

The three-party opposition People's Alliance that includes PAS denied the government its two-thirds majority in parliament. The Alliance also won control of five of 13 states.

Nik Aziz and many others in PAS opposed the idea of PAS forming a unity government in two opposition held states after news of it leaked.

"This issue has been resurfacing now and again ... this cannot be allowed to remain," Nik Aziz wrote.

Party officials said it was highly unlikely an exodus of PAS members into UMNO could result from the present rift in PAS.

"But if this matter goes to a vote and the outcome is that we are against cooperating with the government, then the party leaders who support the cooperation idea should vacate their positions," said Kamaruddin, the PAS central committee man.

UMNO, led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been actively trying to woo PAS to either join or cooperate with the government.


Agencies

Last Mod: 23 Ekim 2009, 13:01
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