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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 – Four-term Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman Abdul Wahid Endut, who was once challenged to a fist fight by current Terengganu mentri besar Ahmad Said, has been named Pas's candidate for the Jan 17 Kuala Terengganu by-election in an eleventh hour decision that took many by surprise.

His selection is seen as a compromise decision as rival factions in the party could not agree on either Batu Buruk assemblyman Dr Syed Azman Nawawi or state party chief Datuk Mustafa Ali. The announcement of Abdul Wahid as the Pas candidate is seen as an attempt to appease both the party’s “Erdogan” faction who are strong supporters of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the “Ulama” group who are close to the party president. Pas will be hoping that Abdul Wahid’s candidacy will put to rest the uncertainty which has gripped the Islamist party amid factional disputes and the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) surprise early naming of heavyweight Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh as their candidate, in a move which clearly put Pas on the defensive.

Mohd Abdul Wahid, 52, is a four-term assemblyman, Kuala Terengganu PAS chief and state PAS treasurer. A Fisheries and Marine Science graduate from Universiti Putra Malaysia, he has never been defeated in the four elections he has contested. It is learnt that Abdul Wahid was not on the initial list of candidates. Nationally unknown, the 52 year old, who used to serve as a Terengganu state executive councillor, from 1999 to 2004 when Pas held the state government, is a popular party leader in the east coast state. After BN wrested the state in 2004, he remained a vocal assemblyman and once accused the BN government of allegedly being “worst than the Jews” for tearing down some a settlement. This had resulted in Ahmad, the current mentri besar who was then a state executive councillor, challenging him to a fist fight outside the state assembly.


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