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The award to Selangor exco member Datuk Dr Hasan Ali by the Sultan of Selangor is in recognition of PAS, the party said today. Selangor PAS deputy commissioner Khalid Samad said the Sultan of Selangor had previously given awards to one leader each from Pakatan Rakyat component parties PKR and the DAP. He said the Sultan had given the “Datuk Seri” title to Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim representing PKR, and the “Datukship” to Teng Chang Khim of the DAP. “This year, the ‘Datuk Mahkota’ title went to Datuk Dr Hasan Ali as the former PAS state commissioner is the highest-ranking PAS executive councillor,” he said.

Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia said yesterday that Hasan’s award in conjunction with the Sultan Selangor’s birthday will play a role in “unifying” Umno and PAS. Assistant chief editor Datuk Zaini Hassan, writing in his weekly column, said he was informed the Sultan recognises Hasan’s role and saw him as a unifying factor for the Malays in Selangor. “Whatever said in Utusan Malaysia by the assistant chief editor regarding Datuk Dr Hasan Ali as the only Malay who can unite Malays, that is his own views and for PAS, we want Malays to unite but we want them to unite based on clear policies (such as Islam, justice and truth) not on Malay nationalism,” said Khalid.

Hasan, who is in charge of the state’s Islamic affairs portfolio, previously defended a raid by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church in August, claiming there was proselytisation of Muslims on the premises. Widely seen as a religious conservative, Hasan has been at odds with the ruling PR state government’s seemingly liberal policies on several occasions, most notably his push for a beer sale ban in the country’s most developed state earlier this year. Hasan had lost badly in the recent PAS election as the Islamist party moved to embrace leaders like Khalid, who is also the Shah Alam MP, who is seen to represent a more progressive and inclusive brand of Islam.

Since Election 2008, Umno has continued to make advances towards the Islamist party on claims that a unification of the two would guarantee the Malay community’s hold on political power. However, PAS has repeatedly snubbed the efforts and expressed its commitment towards PR and their common aim to oust Umno and Barisan Nasional from Putrajaya.


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