THE PAS muktamar this year has drawn more scrutiny than previous meetings, given the changed political landscape after the March 2008 general election.
Attention is focused on the party elections, which some have described as a battle between conservatives and moderates. Ultimately, the elections reflects what party delegates think about PAS’s identity and position in coalition with Pakatan Rakyat partners: the secular, Chinese Malaysian-based DAP, and the multiracial Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
The muktamar, the party’s 55th, is being held at Stadium Malawati in Shah Alam, Selangor. It runs from Friday, 5 June to Sunday, 7 June, and is being attended by 971 delegates.
A total of 350 media personnel are registered to cover the event.
Many journalists covering the meeting have remarked about the simplicity of the venue, facilities, food and drink provided in contrast with Umno’s annual general assemblies held in the glittering Putra World Trade Centre.
PAS’s simplicity has been part of the party’s strength in attracting non-Muslim supporters. This muktamar might determine whether that support, and PAS’s so-far centrist appeal will continue.