No Azmin at Kelantan rally, PAS sec-gen says

PAS leaders stand to attention at the party’s Himpunan Fastaqim-H60k gathering at Sultan Muhammad IV stadium in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, October 17, 2015. — Picture by Kamles Kumar
PAS leaders stand to attention at the party’s Himpunan Fastaqim-H60k gathering at Sultan Muhammad IV stadium in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, October 17, 2015. — Picture by Kamles Kumar

KOTA BHARU, Oct 17 — PKR deputy president Azmin Ali is not expected to show tonight at PAS’s “Himpunan Fastaqim-H60K” at the Sultan Muhammad IV stadium here, although his name was listed among the few speakers for the night.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, when asked to explain the inclusion of Azmin’s name on the list of speakers, said he was just informed that the leader would not attend the gathering.

“I was made to understand that he would come. If he comes, he will speak. But now I’m told that he may not be able to make it,” he said when approached on the sidelines of the event.

Asked to explain Azmin’s reason for not turning up, Takiyuddin said it could be because the leader had other matters to attend to.

“Maybe he is caught up with official business... maybe he missed his flight. I don’t know. This afternoon, it was confirmed,” he claimed.

Malay Mail Online had earlier this evening headlined a story saying that according to a tentative schedule of tonight’s gathering, Azmin is expected to take the stage along with the PAS leadership.

Also expected to attend is former Umno minister Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.

Azmin has been consistent in his position that PAS should be included in the newly-formed Pakatan Harapan, believing that it was still necessary for all the opposition forces to stand united against Barisan Nasional (BN).

PKR’s national leadership has also urged all opposition parties to put aside their differences and to work towards forming a strong, viable federal coalition before the 14th general election due to be called by 2018.

This, however, has not gone down well with some in DAP, whose fallout with PAS earlier this year over key ideological issues like the Islamist party’s push for hudud in Kelantan was what led to the break-up of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition pact.

The pact has since been replaced with Pakatan Harapan, which was formed last month among PKR, DAP and PAS splinter Parti Amanah Rakyat (Amanah).

PAS, however, has so far snubbed the offer to join Pakatan Harapan.

Several days ago, the party forged a working relationship with Malay right wing group Perkasa on several national issues, a move that DAP leaders were quick to criticise.

These and other leadership issues, including a fractious June polls that led to Amanah’s formation from among PAS’s progressive faction, has led to today’s rally, which analysts say is the Islamist party’s way of regrouping and rejuvenating.

The rally will also likely serve as a platform for PAS to reassert its identity as a Malay-Muslim party and to remind its supporters that it is prepared to go into the next general election alone, and that it will no longer make any compromises on issues related to Islam such as hudud.