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Sunday May 31, 2009

Nasharudin sticking to his guns in contest for PAS No. 2 post

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa, who is being challenged by two of the party’s vice-presidents, said he will face the contest by sticking to his principles.

Breaking his long silence on criticisms levelled against him by certain party leaders, the PAS No. 2 said that he was not campaigning hard “as the members know me.”

“They know what I stand for. I look forward only to giving my Friday sermons,’’ Nasharudin, 47, told The Star.

With Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang retaining the president’s post uncontested, the second-in-command is the highest post being contested at the three-day muktamar beginning on Friday.

Nasharudin faces Kelantan senior executive councillor Datuk Husam Musa, 50, and former Kuala Kedah MP Mohamad Sabu, 55, who are the top two of the party’s three veeps.

There are five candidates for the vice-president posts.

The incumbent has received the highest nominations with 68, compared with about 20 each for Husam and Mohamad Sabu.

Fingers are being pointed at Nasharudin, the Bachok MP closely aligned with the PAS president, for his role in propagating unity talks with the Umno leadership last year along with Hadi, which certain sections of the party had opposed.

Nasharudin added that he would stand by his conviction that reaching out to Umno was in the national interest.

He said the decision to hold the talks was made by the party’s Syura Council and endorsed by the muktamar last August.

“What people fail to see is that the decision by the muktamar was to strengthen Pakatan Rakyat.

“And yes, I am doing just that,’’ he pointed out.

He explained that holding unity talks with Umno was not meant to pave the way for PAS’ return to the Barisan Nasional.

“It was never in the president’s agenda,’’ he stressed.

Nasharudin said he accepted the challenge as part of the process of democracy in the party, adding that he was pitted against “friends.”

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