DESPITE the many speeches that sought to work PAS supporters into a fighting frenzy, the two-day Fastaqim 2.0 assembly was capped with a relatively cautious message by its president.
“PAS has been tested many times, but it stands firm, growing stronger by the day. We will not die if we lose the election ,” Abdul Hadi Awang told thousands of supporters last night before leading the assembly’s concluding prayers.
The party claims more than 200,000 people turned up in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, for the fastaqim, which loosely translates to “uprising”.
Dozens of grassroots leaders had been rallying supporters over the last two days to psych themselves up for multi-cornered fights.
Former ally DAP was routinely singled out as a nefarious group that sought to curb Islamic influence.
Last night, Hadi recounted the Islamist party’s struggles in the decades since its formation in 1951.
However, he made no mention of how former partners DAP and PKR had helped deliver PAS its urban seats.
In fact, no mention was made of Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition it once belonged to before a falling out following the death of spiritual leader and moderating figure Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
PAS expanded its seats in Kedah in 1999, and Selangor and Perak only in 2008.
In three-cornered fights, some of its candidates may stand to lose deposits, like what had happened in 1986, when 20 candidates lost their deposits.
In Terengganu, PAS engaged in multi-cornered fights with PKR and Barisan Nasional in 2013, vying for three state seats: Seberang Takir, Bukit Besi and Kota Putra.
PKR lost its deposits in all three seats, but BN managed to retain control of the seats, following the trend that the ruling coalition remains the beneficiary of multi-cornered fights.
The result was repeated last year in the Sarawak state election, where BN won the six seats that DAP and PKR had clashed for.
In February, an Invoke survey claimed that PAS would stand to lose the most in multi-cornered fights, while another survey by Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE) in July claimed that the party could lose Kelantan due to multi-cornered fights.
Invoke is affiliated with PKR lawmaker Rafizi Ramli, while IDE is funded by the Selangor government, which is led by Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali of PKR.
Hadi’s cautionary comment is not the first to be made by a PAS leader.
The party’s deputy president, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, is known to remark that PAS members “do not exist to win elections only”.
Last night, Tuan Ibrahim said the PAS election machinery would not help other parties in the 14th general election, except for its partners in the Gagasan Sejahtera pact.
“Why should we help parties with which we have no collaboration?” he told reporters in Kuala Nerus.
“Our struggle and agenda are what’s most important to us.”