The non-Muslim supporters’ wing of PAS in Penang will respect the party’s central leadership decision on its future in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition despite harbouring hopes that a break-up will not happen.
Asokan Perumal, who heads the Penang island branch of the PAS Supporters Club, appeared unfazed at the controversy over the Islamist party’s conflicting position in backing PKR’s Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor menteri besar.
“We will stand by the decision of the PAS leadership,” Asokan said, adding that whatever the decision, they will not interfere.
“We are just waiting for a final decision from the president and deputy president.”
However, Asokan said that the kinship among Pakatan members in Penang was strong and hoped that a break-up of the coalition would not materialise.
An example of this close relationship was the recent trip by Asokan and two DAP lawmakers to visit PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat who was warded at Hospital USM Kubang Kerian in Kelantan two weeks ago.
Asokan made the goodwill visit with DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh and Seri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer.
Under Asokan’s leadership, the club in Penang has been a visible force in Pakatan's political activities, such as during the recent campaigning for the Bukit Gelugor parliamentary by-election.
The club also spearheads inter-faith programmes between PAS and non-Muslim groups in the state, together with PAS national unity bureau chief Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.
The PAS leadership is scheduled to meet on August 10 when a decision on Khalid's position will be made. The decision is expected to determine the future of PAS in the opposition coalition.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is opposed to replacing Khalid as menteri besar despite the Pakatan presidential council having agreed on July 23 that a replacement was necessary.
Nik Aziz has backed Hadi on the matter, while PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu has described Hadi’s stand as his “personal” view.
The issue took a more sinister turn when screenshots of a WhatsApp discussion among PAS’s central committee members went viral online yesterday, showing the members discussing a possible break-up from Pakatan.
PAS’s research centre operations director Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki allegedly described a scenario in which PAS and Umno members in Selangor could team up with Khalid, who is the Ijok assembly rep, to form a new state government there.
The screenshots also showed him saying that the “political boundaries” of Selangor could be changed by the end of the year to return political power to Malay-Muslims. – July 29, 2014.