IN the wake of the Pakatan Rakyat’s unprecedented success in five state governments in the 8 March 2008 polls, PAS decided to hold its 54th muktamar (assembly) in Ipoh, Perak. The PAS leadership considers Perak a symbolic choice after the Pakatan Rakyat’s victory there, since the Islamist party traces several important milestones back to this state.
The first Hizbul Muslimin was established here in 1948, at Gunung Semanggol. In 1955, PAS recorded its first electoral victory when Haji Ahmad Tuan Hussein won the Krian seat in pre-independence Malaya’s first federal election. Perak is also where the Dewan Ulama Pas was officially established in Bagan Datoh, 1957.
As important as these historic markers are to PAS, the rest of the nation will be eyeing this muktamar to gauge PAS’s future direction, especially given its recent meetings with Umno, and the perceived tensions within the Pakatan Rakyat.