Nasharudin has retained the Pas deputy presidency. He collected 480 votes, Husam Musa polled 281 while Mat Sabu won 261.
It looks as if the “progressive” or modernist votes have been split between Husam and Mat Sabu, who together collected 541 votes (54 per cent of votes cast) compared to Nasharudin’s 480 votes.
In comparison, Nizar easily topped the contest for committee positions with 85 per cent of the votes.
The result could have been different if Mat Sabu had pulled out of the contest for the deputy presidency leaving it as a straight fight between Husam and Nasharudin.
“I was surprised that Husam’s aides didn’t prevail on Mat Sabu to withdraw,” said a political commentator in an immediate response. “They were hoping that he would withdraw – and in the end, he played the spoiler’s role.”
“The big question is why didn’t Mat Sabu withdraw and what did he hope to achieve?”
Just before the official results were announced, rival news portals Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider this morning both carried headline reports that Husam had won, according to unofficial sources.
When it became clear that Nasharudin had won instead, the Malaysian Insider was quick to interpret his victory as a triumph for the pro-Umno faction in Pas and a blow for Pas’ Pakatan partners.
But it is clear that Nasharudin bagged only 46 per cent of the votes cast, suggesting that support for cooperation with Umno is slightly in the minority.
The future of progressive politics in Pas perhaps lies in its second echelon leaders with Nizar bagging a total of 854 votes (or 85 per cent) of 1,004 votes cast.
“A significant proportion of the votes for Nizar may be due to triumphalism, in the sense that Nizar was a popular MB and many of the Pas faithful would like to revel in that,” observed the commentator mentioned earlier. “But it is clear that he has an inclusive multiracial approach, reflected in the overwhelming support he received in Kuala Sepetang (in Bukit Gantang), which is predominantly Chinese.”