The recent victory for Pahang PAS Commissioner Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man in winning the party’s vice-president position is a good sign especially in bridging the gap between two groups in the party.

Associate Professor Bridget Welsh from the Singapore Management University said Tuan Ibrahim can play an important role in getting the two groups together in determining the party’s direction.

Welsh said, although Tuan Ibrahim seems to be representing the conservative ulama group in PAS, he is seen as someone who can bridge the gap between the ulama group and the professionals in the party.

“Many people say Tuan Ibrahim is a representative from the ulama group but I see him as someone who does not represent any groups and this is good for PAS because he can be the bridge to connect the two groups in PAS,” she said.

“The two groups, professional and ulama need to be in discussion for the party’s benefit, this may take time because of the old wounds from this election but it is something that can be resolved and Tuan Ibrahim is the right person to be the middle man,’’ she told Astro AWANI at the PAS’s 59th muktamar at Stadium Melawati, Shah Alam on Sunday.

Commenting on the PAS new line-up for the 2013-2015, Welsh said it is the most inclusive line-up compared to the ones before this.

“The new line-up characters are of national personalities when compared with the previous one which was mostly led by leaders from Kelantan and Terengganu.

“The new line-up also consist of those from the new generation like Nasrudin Hassan, Ridhuan Md Nor, Nik Zawawi and others.

“Yes, they may be conservative but they are from the new generation and can pull more support for PAS,” she said.

Commenting on PAS’s preparation in moving towards the 14th general election, Welsh said the party needed to solve several weaknesses soon.

Among the changes that needed to be done, she said is for PAS to build a relationship with the people, different from the one it has now.

“With a more inclusive line-up, PAS’s relationship with the people must also change, the party can no longer have programmes exclusively for its members alone and it has to be closer to the people,’’ she added.