Umno says PAS better off in BN than Pakatan

By Syed Mu’az Syed Putra, The Malaysian Insider

Umno continued its courtship of PAS today, saying the Islamist party would have a better future with Barisan Nasional (BN) rather than remaining within the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance with DAP and PKR.

Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan claimed that PAS would have a better chance in its political survival by supporting the ruling federal coalition, instead of “dreaming” of taking over Putrajaya and telling Umno to “withdraw gracefully” in the event of an electoral loss.

“PKR and DAP are just a burden to PAS. PAS will do better under Umno-BN, not with PKR and DAP who do not get along with PAS,” Ahmad Maslan told The Malaysian Insider.

Ahmad Maslan was responding to a statement made by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang yesterday. Abdul Hadi said that Umno should ensure it withdraws gracefully from the government if it loses in the next general elections.

The PAS president said Umno should learn to accept losses in an open-minded manner, and not resort to underhanded tactics to win, like what happened in Perak last year.

In response, Ahmad Maslan reminded PAS to first “study” their positions within PR and Parliament before even thinking about replacing Umno.

“Umno has not lost yet, we do not even know when the general elections are going to be held. Umno and BN are in power now, the elections are not going to happen so soon, probably 2013.

“But if you look at the current situation [I’d say] the people are with Umno-BN,” said the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s department.

He pointed out that PAS had to contest in more Parliamentary seats before even considering itself as a threat to Umno.

“PAS-PR have 60 seats. Parliament has 222, unless PAS contests more seats I don’t see how they can lead PR. For me I think that PAS needs to reconsider its position in Pakatan, whether they want to stand alone or join BN,” said Ahamd Maslan.

PR won five states in the 2008 general elections, but BN wrested Perak from after several PR assemblymen left the party to become BN-friendly independents.