M'sian Islamist party aims to be dominant in parliament

Alor Setar (The Star/ANN) - The Pan-Islamic Malaysian Party (PAS) is positioning itself as the dominant party in Pakatan Rakyat (Parliament), by seeking to contest more than a third of the 222 parliamentary seats.

Its president Abdul Hadi Awang confirmed that the party would contest 76 parliamentary seats and that negotiations were still going on for it to contest a total of 237 state seats.

In the 2008 general election, the People's Justice Party (PKR) contested 97 parliamentary seats the biggest number in the Opposition pact and won 31. PAS candidates stood in 66 parliamentary seats and won 23 while the Democratic Action party (DAP) contested 47 and won 28.

As for state seats, PAS contested the most with 232, against PKR's 171 and DAP's 102.

If the party gets its way in the 13th general election, it would contest in an additional 10 parliamentary and five state seats.

"We will not let go of any seat but we are willing to swap," he said when asked if PAS was prepared to give up a seat in Kedah to DAP following a deadlock in discussions with PKR.

Hadi, who was in Kedah to launch Pakatan Rakyat's manifesto on Saturday night declared that PAS would definitely not work with the "devil" it knew.

Asked if he was likening Umno to a devil, Hadi said he was merely repeating part of a phrase often used by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to urge voters to support Barisan Nasional.

Hadi also dismissed objections by former PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa against PAS' willingness to allow DAP to use its logo in the general election.

"DAP is allowed to use PAS logo on the basis of mutual understanding," he said, adding that Nasharuddin had no right to air his view as he was only an ordinary member now with no access to the latest developments in the party.

Earlier, Hadi said PAS' candidates list was more than 99 per cent completed, adding that the candidates would be named even before Barisan unveils its list. Barisan is scheduled to announce its candidates on Wednesday.

Hadi is tipped to defend his Marang parliamentary seat, while the party's deputy Mursyidul Am, Harun Din is likely to contest the Arau parliamentary seat.

PAS has confirmed that it would retain Khalid Samad in Shah Alam, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud in Kota Raja and Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof in Rantau Panjang.

Others expected to be retained are Kamarudin Jaffar (Tumpat), Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (Kuala Krai), Dr Dzulkifly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) and Mujahid Yusof Rawa (Parit Buntar)

PAS is expected to field Brig Jen (Rtd) Najmi Ahmad in Baling, Federal Territory deputy PAS commissioner Ahmad Zamri Asa'ad Khuzaimi in Titiwangsa, Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi in Temerloh and Mohd Nasir Zakaria in Padang Terap.

Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali is tipped to contest the Kuala Nerus parliamentary seat in Terengganu.

PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu is tipped to contest the Pendang parliamentary seat in Kedah, while vice-president Salahuddin Ayub is likely to contest the Pulai parliamentary seat in Johor.

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