Online debate rages over Hadi Awang keeping PAS presidency

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KUALA LUMPUR: The debate on whether Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang should remain as PAS president, or if he should step down, is gathering steam in social media after he bucked Pakatan Rakyat over the Selangor menteri besar impasse.

The leadership of the Persatuan Ummah Sejahtera Malaysia (PasMa) within PAS may have distanced itself from any move to remove Abdul Hadi as party president but the members are not on the same page as its leaders.

Members have started an intense anti-Hadi campaign through Facebook and WhatsApp groups, with many suggesting possible successors to the Islamist party leader.

One of the main PasMa figures, Zolkharnain Abidin, posted a message on his Facebook stating that PAS not only needs a new president, it needs a leader capable of reform.

Zolkharnain, the former Santan assemblyman in Perlis, received a lot of feedback, both positive and negative, from social media users over his posting.

A reader going by the name of AyahCik Anuar diplomatically wrote: “TGHH is unwell physically but his mind is still alert. Perhaps it is best if he steps down to recuperate. There are many who are qualified to lead. There are many angered over the pressure brought on TGHH to step down. I do not know why they angry. We do not need to be obsessed over a leader,” he said. Social media users who supported Zolkharnain’s posting even suggested the likes of Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PAS vice-president), Ahmad Awang (former PAS Perak commissioner) and Mohamad Sabu (PAS deputy president) to succeed Abdul Hadi.

However, Abdul Hadi’s supporters are fighting back. They disputed these suggestions, saying there is no need for Abdul Hadi to step down.

Husnizaim Hussain wrote: “Is TGHH as the party president jeopardising PAS? Or has he broken the party constitution or Allah’s laws? There is no need to pay attention to those pressuring Hadi to step down as they are not even party members, just bandwagon followers.”

Some even questioned the lack of capable candidates to succeed Hadi should he decide to step down. Syook Salleh said thus far, he does not see any capable candidates who have the qualifications, calibre, charisma and influence to replace Abdul Hadi.

Abdul Hadi’s supporters also said there is a campaign by his detractors to build an unpopular perception of the PAS president.

Fazly Zaimie Yaacob said: “It is strange that even before the PAS muktamar, Hadi’s reputation and name had been smeared. What is their agenda?”

Hadi’s failure to defend and retain Terengganu in 12th general election in 2004 has also been dredged up and is being used against him.

A book written by Mohd Sayuti Omar titled Inside Story: Kejatuhan Kerajaan PAS Kedah has also been used in attacks against Abdul Hadi, who was blamed for the loss of Terengganu.

“Just finished reading the book. No wonder Hadi was the main reason Pakatan Rakyat was rejected by the rakyat of Kedah in the last general election,” said Othman Ismail.

Othman, the PasMa chief for Kuala Terengganu, added that the reason for PAS’ downfall in Terengganu in 2004 has yet to be revealed. Othman, however, told The Malaysian Insider that criticism of Abdul Hadi is not personal but for party interests.

PasMa president Datuk Fakhrurazi Zawawi had previously told reporters after the group’s first official meeting that his side would not interfere in party affairs.

“We will not get involved in PAS’ affairs. Leadership issues within Pakatan Rakyat will be resolved by those involved,” Fakhrurazi said after its first meeting on Nov 14, when the cell group established committees at state level nationwide.

PasMa has been widely condemned and criticised by the pro-ulama groups in the Islamic party. — The Malaysian Insider


This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 20, 2014.