By Syed Jaymal ZahiidSHAH ALAM, June 5 –Selangor PAS chief Datuk Hassan Ali is adamant that the on-going assembly will debate whether top party posts should be kept for clerics only despite not being on the agenda.Hassan said although the motion, passed by the influential Dewan Ulamak at its muktamar (general assembly) last night, has been rejected on technical grounds, he believes the magnitude of the subject is such that it is sure to force its way to the debate session tomorrow.“The motion was rejected due to technicalities but even if it is rejected, I am sure it will be debated as the issue is not something that is trivial,” he told a press conference during a break session at the party’s 55th muktamar.This muktamar is seen as a power tussle between the conservative lerical group which intends to hold on to power against the drastic rise of the more moderate element led by the professionals known as the “Erdogans”.The rejection of the motion was seen as a major boost to the Erdogan group, named after the Turkish prime minister whose party has aided opposition icon Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahims’ election strategy.The party today began voting in elections for top party posts which both factions are contesting.Hassan however said the issue of rivalry between the clerical class and the latter was never there as both sides have always maintained a “symbiotic relationship” with each other.“I am a professional. I am an urban planner and my PhD falls under the science stream so I am an urban scientist but the western way is not the only way to solve things.“I joined the party because of the ulama. I would not have joined the party if it was fighting a nationalist cause. It is an Islamic party,” he said adding that the clerical leadership is vital in an Islamic party.Many observers, however, feel the strong grip of the clerical class on the party’s leadership has hampered its growth potential by alienating non-Muslim voters over ideas like the Islamic state and the implementation of Islamic criminal laws or the Hudud.Such ideas have exacerbated cracks in an already frail opposition pact following strained relations with its fellow opposition party, the DAP which has vehemently maintained that the country is run on secular values.Hassan said such differences are normal and discounted scepticism over the possibility of the two working together.“Its difficult to even wed two human beings let alone two leadership. These things take time,” he said.
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