SANUSI’S IMAGE BOOSTED
PN won 33 out of the 36 seats contested in Kedah, an improvement from the 20 seats it held before the state legislative assembly was dissolved.
Political analyst Dr Azizuddin believed that Sanusi’s image has been boosted among PN supporters – particularly that of PAS – after the coalition’s resounding victory in the state.
“Pakatan Harapan (PH) really put a lot of focus on Kedah and although Sanusi was attacked, he was able to counter these attacks, with the unity (government) unable to sway the votes.
“This has boosted his image and he will go for a higher position in the party. There is already talk that he will contest as deputy president in their next party election,” Dr Azizuddin told CNA.
During election campaigning, Sanusi was on the receiving end of relentless attacks by Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution, who is also from Kedah.
Mr Saifuddin had on occasion linked Sanusi to the alleged theft of rare earth elements in Bukit Enggang, Sik.
Sanusi – who has been compared to former US president Donald Trump and former Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte by many for his tendency to shoot from the hip – however took all these attacks in his stride and even launched counter attacks on his political “enemies”, including Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
In the past, Sanusi has even taken on Johor crown prince Tunku Idris Ismail, with a spat between both of them taking place on social media.
Earlier in July, Sanusi was charged with two counts of sedition for allegedly insulting Selangor royalty, but many believed that he was able to use the cases to gain public sympathy.
Meanwhile, Dr Ahmad – the Terengganu chief minister – has also gained plaudits after leading PAS to a 32-0 win in the state election.
Unlike Sanusi, Dr Ahmad – who is an aerospace engineer by trade – did not resort to insults against his political opponents and was seen by observers to be a more inclusive person.
Political analyst Ibrahim Suffian of the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research believes that it is still early days to talk about succession in PAS as it was a more structured process and would require consensus from the party’s religious wing known as the Shura Ulama Council. The council is the highest decision-making body in the party.
Both Dr Samsuri and Sanusi are vice-presidents within PAS, considered to be the third-highest rank in the hierarchy of the party.
“Sanusi and Samsuri are high up, but both are seen as technocrats and not ulama. There might be some pushback from the religious faction,” he said.
CNA has contacted several high-ranking PAS leaders including Sanusi for comment.
White Rook Advisory senior advisor Dr Zaharuddin Sani Sabri said that while PAS could leverage Sanusi’s popularity to strengthen its position and advance its agenda, there were those in the party who were not in favour of the Kedah chief minister’s brash style of politics, and that this could generate internal tensions within the different factions in PAS.
“PAS is dominated by two groups – the technocrats and the religious faction. The technocrats and even youngsters might be okay with his style but for the religious group, his style would not be in line with the practise of Islam,” he said, adding that Sanusi’s comments about royalty may also cause discomfort for some.