Malaysia's Islamist party PAS aims to patch up Umno-Bersatu ties

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Islamist party Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is playing the mediator role in the strained relationship between Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

Penang PAS commissioner Muhammad Fauzi Yusoff said they were trying to save the “union” so that its efforts all this while would not be in vain.

A separation, he said, would impact the governing Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition’s chances in the next general election, and he hopes Bersatu and Umno would sit together and think wisely before making any decision.

“We have a bigger agenda and we cannot let Umno lose in GE15, ” he said on Thursday (Jan 7) in reference to the 15th national polls.

The Umno supreme council, after a meeting on Wednesday, issued a statement that a motion to sever ties with Bersatu in GE15 would be decided at the party’s upcoming general assembly on Jan 31.

Other motions to be decided include the call to hold GE15 in the first quarter of 2021, subject to the Covid-19 situation.

Bersatu, which held its supreme council meeting on the same day, said it would continue strengthening its ties with other Perikatan allies consisting of PAS, Sabah STAR and Sabah Progressive Party.

It said a general election should only be held after the pandemic has been brought under control.

Umno supreme council member Jalaluddin Alias said he expressed his views during the meeting on the importance for Umno as one of the parties in the Perikatan government to stay put.

“The country is still battling the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy is still slow and the rakyat’s pockets are still empty. On top of that, the flood is raging in several states.

“All parties in the present government have an important role in implementing the agendas to help the people,” he said.

PAS Bachok MP Nik Abduh Nik Aziz said a solution must be sought to avoid any further conflict between Umno and Bersatu.

He said while it was not wrong for Umno, PAS or Bersatu to stake their claims, they must be willing to negotiate.

He added that PN should also be open to make any necessary changes or be prepared to be changed.

Penang Bersatu committee member Zolkifly Md Lazim, meanwhile, said no party in PN should leave the coalition as sticking together was the right formula to lead the country.

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He said he believes the parties, including Umno, would not dare to leave as they know they would not be able to go alone in the 15th General Election.

“Umno won’t be that gullible to think it can win the election without the cooperation from Bersatu.

“In Malaysia, if we want to win in the election, we must have a strong alliance. We cannot afford to be in a three-cornered fight, let alone fight on our own, ” he said.

Mr Zolkifly said Umno with its vast political experience should be more rational when making a decision on Jan 31.

He also claimed that there might be some Umno members who were influenced by a few leaders trying to escape from their corruption cases.

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Without naming the leaders, Mr Zolkifly said these leaders were the main culprits trying to sabotage the PN government and to force the dissolution of Parliament.

Kedah Umno Youth information chief Syed Mohd Johan Rizal Syed Unan Mashri hoped there would not be any conflict between the three parties.

“But if there is a three-cornered fight in GE15, I must say that Umno grassroots members will always be loyal to the party.

“We have a strong election machinery and enough candidates to be fielded in the election,” he added.

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