Nizar a favourite in PAS’s V-P race

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 – Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, who is struggling to win back the post of Perak Menteri Besar, is a favourite to win a vice-president’s seat in Parti Islam SeMalaysia’s (PAS) elections next month, party officials said.

He is among the upcoming leaders within PAS with professional qualifications, and not from the clerics group, who are expected to dominate in the polls – a sign that the party wants to shift away from being Malay-based.

“Nizar is one of the leading contenders for the three vice-president posts,” a PAS official said as reported by NST

The British-trained engineer quickly gained popularity for resolving issues affecting minorities during his short tenure as Perak’s chief minister. The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government that he led was toppled by Barisan Nasional in February. PAS is a member of the three-party PR.

An unknown to many PAS members just a year ago, Nizar is now a household name because of the way he calmly handled the Perak crisis.

“He has come out from that looking as the future leader of the nation,” said an aide to a senior party leader.

Nizar’s popularity shows that party members are more concerned about performance than on whether its office-bearers are ulama, or clerics.