Samsuri's leadership signals new era for Pas - Analysts

05 Dec 2023 05:01pm
Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar - FILE PIX by Sinar
Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar - FILE PIX by Sinar

SHAH ALAM - Political analysts suggest that Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar's ascension could usher in a new era for Pas, blending the party's religious roots with a pragmatic, technocratic governance approach.

Universiti Putra Malaysia Senior lecturer Dr Nur Ayuni Mohd Isa said that Samsuri's victory indicates a potential harmony between clerical and administrative leadership within Pas.

"It's evident that the party could benefit from technocrats to enhance governance and engage non-Muslim communities.

"This leadership shift signifies a move towards inclusivity, harmonizing religious traditions with modern administrative skills," Ayuni told Sinar Daily.

Acknowledging the necessity for diverse expertise, the integration of technocrats is seen as a means to improve governance by leveraging a broader range of skills, she said.

Ayuni suggests that this move might indicate Pas's openness to a more extensive demographic, potentially expanding its appeal beyond its traditional support base.

"In adapting to contemporary political dynamics while upholding core values, Pas aims to navigate a diverse landscape effectively, bridging tradition and modernity through this evolved leadership approach," she added.

In a related matter, Institute of Ethnic Studies Professor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin opined that Pas now has a credible political candidate who is wise in matters of material and modern government and possesses good scientific knowledge.

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"Pas has never had such a balanced leader: spiritual, material, and governmental.

"He is not only a technocrat like Tok Mat (Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan) of Umno but also a reliable and calm spiritual leader.

"With someone credible and stable to challenge the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership, he should soon be appointed the Opposition leader to lead debates with the government," Shamsul said.

Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Ethnic Studies Deputy Director Institute Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib concurs that Samsuri is a pragmatic leader.

"Even staunch Umno supporters are willing to shift their allegiance to him.

"In the state election and GE15, 70–80 per cent of Umno transferred their votes to Perikatan Nasional (PN) because of Samsuri's credibility.

"His humble personality attracted Malays and contributed to PN's winning streak in the recent state election for state assembly seats, reflecting strong support from non-Malays towards Samsuri.

"This is where identity politics are diluted in Terengganu and Kelantan," Kartini said.

Political analyst Prof Dr Syaza Shukri believes that replacing Pas President Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang with Samsuri could be a lengthy process.

"Maybe they can groom him, but I don’t think Hadi’s position is in any danger.

"What he brings is a different style of politics that is more reserved and statesmanlike.

"More importantly, he doesn’t participate in the harsh rhetoric of Hadi about non-Muslims," Syaza said.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim described Samsuri’s victory in Kemaman as something that may ease the country’s political temperature.

He said this is due to Samsuri’s moderate image compared the extremist stance the Pas leadership tends to take.

Anwar also congratulated Samsuri and hoped that the Terengganu menteri besar would be able to carry out his new MP role well.

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