Meeting with Nik Aziz not on ‘unity talk’, says PKR sec-gen

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has denied his meeting with Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat yesterday had to do with a Christmas Eve dinner between Umno and PAS leaders.

Saifuddin played down his meeting with the Kelantan mentri besar, saying it was in his capacity as Machang MP and not about the private dinner hosted by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak,  his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and former PM Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at Istana Terengganu

“I always meet the MB, it is not a strange occurrence if a member of Parliament in Kelatan meets the Kelantan MB. It was a normal meeting, we discussed lots of things — local housing projects, Kelantan politics as well as national politics,” Saifuddin told The Malaysian Insider.

When asked whether the there was any discussion regarding the recent meeting between Umno and PAS, Saifuddin said that the matter was not brought up.

“We only spoke about the usual stuff… we did not discuss any other matters,” added Saifuddin.

The dinner almost a fortnight ago was seen as another attempt to revive the talks on political co-operation with Umno in the name of Malay/Muslim unity

Word of renewed unity talks is causing concern among PAS allies in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as it took place just a week after the coalition had its second convention in Penang to discuss their policies and programmes ahead of snap polls expected this year.

However, a debate on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims had ensued during the talk, which ended discussions of a political merger between the two Malay parties then.

The Malaysian Insider understands that an Umno leader at the talks spoke about the need for Malay unity as he said non-Malays were seen to be taking advantage of a split between Umno and PAS to ask for greater concessions including the right to use the word “Allah”, in what was seen as a reference to the Catholic Church’s lawsuit to use the word in its Bahasa Malaysia publication.

However, sources said PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz defended non-Muslims and objected to that conjecture, giving a short history lesson to point out that even Prophet Muhammad’s father, Abdullah, had worshipped Allah although he was not a Muslim.