Tuesday, September 20, 2016

'Analysts: Haron Din’s Demise A Great Loss, But PAS’s Outlook Remains Unchanged', The MalayMail Online, 20 September 2016

Malay Mail Online

September 20, 2016

Datuk Dr Haron Din, who had battled heart problems for some time, died on Friday at a hospital in San Francisco where he had undergoing treatment. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 ― The demise of PAS' spiritual leader Datuk Dr Haron Din might be a big loss for the Islamist party but analysts believe that it would not result in any change in its conservative approach or policies.
Pundits say that the ulama, or clerics’ control over PAS will still remain as long as party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang leads.
“I think as long as Hadi and the young ulama's still dominate the party, the Islamic approach and its attendant chumminess with Umno will still persists,” Dr Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore told Malay Mail Online.
Haron, who had battled heart problems for some time, died on Friday at a hospital in San Francisco where he had undergoing treatment.
The religious healer's death came a year and a half after he was elected as PAS spiritual adviser to succeed the late Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School for Social Science Studies lecturer Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian meanwhile said Haron Din was one of “pillars in protecting PAS’s movement based on its ideology” and his death might result in the party trying out a new approach despite staying united.
“I don't think the question whether it will soften or stronger in its approach because the leaders in PAS remain intact to party's objectives with their understanding on Islamic state. Maybe with different approach or methodology,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Another analyst echoed Dr Oh’s views, saying that as long as Hadi remain PAS chief, things will be run the same way including their approach towards other parties.
Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia told Malay Mail Online that there has even been rumours that Hadi is set to replace Haron as the new PAS spiritual adviser.
“Whoever that replaces Haron Din will have to follow Hadi's policies. There is even a rumour that Hadi will be the replacement,” he said.
The academic however stressed that PAS needs to rethink its way of operating especially now as it needs allies from either Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Harapan to go into the next general elections.
“PAS is order to survive need to collaborate with either Umno or Pakatan. They not need to form a formal alliance but a pact for the elections might help,” Dr Mohd Azizuddin explained.
Haron was buried in San Francisco, after his family decided that he should be buried there according to his own wishes. He was 76 years old.
Hadi, in paying respects in front of the thousands who attended prayers for the deceased yesterday, said that Haron had contributed heavily to the development of Islam.

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