Malaysia

PAS succession plan not an issue, says Nik Aziz

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
June 10, 2010

Nik Aziz said there has been a paradigm shift in PAS membership. — Picture by Choo Choy MayNik Aziz said there has been a paradigm shift in PAS membership. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KOTA BARU, June 10 — PAS’ most popular leader, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, has played down the question of who would succeed him in the near future, claiming that a succession plan was not an issue especially with the influx of qualified professionals in the party.

The highly-revered 79-year old PAS spiritual leader said that throughout his 20 years as Kelantan mentri besar, he had tried his best to emulate the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

As long as PAS leaders continued that practice, he said, the party would carry on fine without him at the helm.

“Before I came, there was already a leader by the name of Prophet Muhammad, who was appointed by Allah, just like Jesus was.

“My troubles that I’ve faced during my leadership is too little compared to what the Prophet had to go through,” he said yesterday.

Nik Aziz told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview that the one thing he always kept in mind was that the world did not belong to humans, but instead to Allah.

“Everything we see, it’s made, given by Allah to us. As such, we have the responsibility to not do any evil and bear in mind that, in the end, everything belongs to Him,” said Nik Aziz.

The Kelantan PAS commissioner then dismissed any future problems in the Islamist party carrying on without him.

According to Nik Aziz, he had done what he had “set himself out to accomplish,” and that his colleagues in PAS knew this.

“When I am no longer in this world, when I have stepped back, other people can copy me, what I’ve done (as a leader.)

“(But) even if they do not copy me, [it] is fine, as long as they emulate Prophet Muhammad, it’s enough,” said Nik Aziz.

The Kelantan mentri besar accused Umno of trying to force him out. — Picture by Choo Choy MayThe Kelantan mentri besar accused Umno of trying to force him out. — Picture by Choo Choy MayThe turbaned and goateed PAS leader explained to The Malaysian Insider that PAS’ new generation of leaders possessed the professional qualifications needed to take over the leadership of the Islamist party in the coming years.

“When I first joined PAS, I myself did not know anyone as I was new back then.”

According to Nik Aziz, a major paradigm shift had occurred within PAS in recent times, whereby “intellectuals” had joined the party, as opposed to the past, when the bulk of PAS’ members were religious teachers.

“When PAS was first formed back in 1951, only the religious teachers supported it. There were no intellectuals, no university graduates who supported PAS.

“But now the numbers are increasing. My Exco members right now, they are all university graduates.

“There are ex-teachers, economical experts, doctors... all sorts of people,” he added.

The PAS leader claimed that the Kelantan state opposition, led by Umno, had been stirring up speculation and demands for him to step down.

“Umno have been relentless in wanting me to quit but PAS is not letting me. Let me tell them this, I am a PAS man, not an Umno man,” he said with a laugh.

The veteran politician expressed confidence in PAS making inroads, particularly among non-Muslims, with the formation of the PAS Supporters’ Congress.

He believed that should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) take over Putrajaya in the near future, PR component parties like DAP would not have a problem with PAS pushing for the creation of an Islamic state and enacting Hudud laws.

“Hudud laws will be fitted in the country’s laws should PAS and PR take over the federal government. There is no reason why people can’t accept Hudud laws.

“If people can accept the death penalty, why can’t they accept this then? After that, Hudud laws would only be applied to Muslims,” said Nik Aziz.

PAS’ agenda in forming an Islamic nation-state had previously resulted in DAP leaving the informal opposition coalition known as Barisan Alternatif back in 1999.

DAP had been against the idea from the start and would not compromise on the matter.

But Nik Aziz went to great lengths to describe how DAP now understood the principles of Islam.

He claimed that DAP now supported it because of how Kelantan had prospered and benefitted from Islamic law.

“DAP is now back with us because they understand the principles of PAS, which is consistent with Islamic principles of justice and equality.

“Kelantan is a good example. Ask any non-Muslim living here, do they feel traumatised or robbed of their rights under Islamic law?

“In fact, I had even invited (DAP chairman) Karpal Singh to come to Kelantan and see for himself. I told him to pay his flight ticket and I will pay for his accommodation,” said Nik Aziz in jest.