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Leave Penanti to PKR: Nik Aziz

KOTA BARU, 4 May 2009: PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has told party members not to create problems by demanding to field its candidate for the Penanti state seat by-election on 31 May.

He said PAS must keep to the agreement made with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), one of its partners in the opposition pact.

“If it’s a PKR area, then it’s their right (to contest the seat). We should go back to the agreement made. As Muslims, we should keep our promise, so we should not create problems now.

“Just like in Kelantan, we follow the agreement. When we give a seat to PKR, whether they win or lose, it’s their business,” Nik Aziz said when met by reporters at his residence in Pulau Melaka, here, today.

He was responding to the demand made by Penang PAS Youth chief, Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nordin, that the party leadership consider fielding a PAS candidate in Penanti after the seat fell vacant following the resignation of the incumbent assemblyperson and former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I, Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, 32, on 16 April.

The Election Commisison has fixed 23 May for the nomination of candidates and 31 May.

Yesterday, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang reiterated the party’s stand to support the candidate chosen by PKR, Dr Mansor Othman, and that the decision was final.

Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional (BN) has not decided whether to contest in the Penanti by-election.

On another matter, Nik Aziz who is also Kelantan Menteri Besar, stressed that only professional ulama were qualified to be the president and deputy president of the Islamist party which would hold its elections in June.

He said those offering themselves for the party’s top posts should do some soul searching whether they could fulfil the criteria set by the party.

“PAS is a party led by the ulama. In the early days, not many ulama were highly educated but now many are, so they are knowledgeable (in Islam) and they are also professionals,” he said.

Nik Aziz’s statement’s is in tune with the decision of the party’s ulama group for the president and deputy president posts be held by those with a formal and high level of education in Islam, to ensure the continuity of its policy of setting up an Islamic state.

The party elections are expected to see a keen contest, at least for the deputy president post. The incumbent, Nasharuddin Mat Isa, has confirmed that he would defend his post while party vice-presidents Datuk Husam Musa and Mohammad Sabu, Kedah PAS commissioner Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak and his Selangor counterpart Datuk Dr Hassan Ali are said may be challenging Nasharuddin.

On the unhappiness of some PAS members over the party leadership’s pro-opposition pact stance, Nik Aziz urged them to accept the leadership’s decision.

“I myself am pro-opposition pact. We had made the decision at our party’s assembly in Ipoh (last year). This pact is new, only about a year old. A pact cannot stand strong always. Sometimes, it collapses, just like Semangat 46, which died,” he said. — Bernama

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