PETALING JAYA: Zaharuddin Muhammad, the son-in-law of PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, has won the Subang division chief’s post ahead of party elections in June.
He ranks among the young Turks in PAS who are making waves in their move to take PAS back to its original direction and policies.
Zaharuddin, only in his 30s and the chief religious officer of Perangsang Selangor, defeated incumbent Misni Rahman, an engineer aligned to the Erdogan group in PAS.
PAS research centre director Dr Zuhdi Mohd Marzuki said Zaharuddin’s win was part of a strong pro-ulama trend in the party elections. He said the ulama leaders were also dominant in Selangor, which some had assumed to be a pro-Erdogan state.
The pro-ulama group also dominated in Klang, where there was a friendly transition from ulama Nazri Nayan to Mohd Prasad Haniff.
More pro-ulama wins are expected this weekend when the bulk of Selangor divisions hold their AGMs and elect new office-bearers.
In Kapar, former Selangor PAS commissioner Dr Rani Osman is facing an uphill fight against his ulama deputy Najhan Salleh, who has received an overwhelming number of nominations.
“The trend also shows that PAS members want Hadi to remain as the president,” said Hadi’s former press secretary Roslan Shahir, who is from the Kelana Jaya division.
All the Selangor divisions which have held their AGMs so far have nominated Hadi for the presidency.
Roslan said the divisions took the cue from state PAS chief and state exco member Datuk Iskandar Samad, who made a clarion call for Hadi to be retained.
There has not been a contest for the presidency in decades but there is a possibility that Hadi may face a challenge. Kelantan politician and vice-president Datuk Husam Musa and Ahmad Awang from Perak have received nominations for the top post.
Deputy president Mohamed Sabu is also facing a strong challenge from Pahang ulama Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who is an incumbent vice-president.
The PAS election this year is the fiercest in the party’s history.
The biggest name to fall victim to the rivalry between the ulama and Erdogan groups has been former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, who was toppled by his former Dewan Ulama chief in the Kampar division.
Nizar, a seven-term incumbent who received only 24 votes against 146 by his challenger, was a victim of poison pen letters labelling him “boneka DAP” (DAP puppet) and criticising him for not showing support for PAS’ hudud bill.