PAS-Umno secret talks sorted out, says Anwar

The hush-hush meeting on Christmas eve between two political foes is seen as a non-issue

(Free Malaysia Today) – The Pakatan Rakyat national leadership said today the secret meeting between PAS and Umno last Christmas eve is no longer an issue.

Pakatan chief Anwar Ibrahim said they were satisfied with the explanation given by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang on the meeting, which has forced the opposition pact to be on the defensive.

“He has explained about the meeting and we are satisfied because like what (PAS spiritual leader) Nik Aziz Nik Mat has said before, they are committed to Pakatan.

“There is no need for us to raise any issue or suspicion,” he told a press conference after chairing the coalition’s top leadership meeting at the PAS headquarters here.

The meeting took place between Nik Aziz, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and the Yang diPertuan Agong at his palace in Terengganu.

The secret meeting was then leaked to the media and confirmed by Najib who refused to divulge the details in light of the King’s request that it be kept secret.

Speculation was rife that it was held to revive the “unity talks” between the two main Malay parties which cast doubts on PAS’ commitment to Pakatan.

Anwar said that Hadi had already explained to PKR and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng on the issue. The PAS president gave his explanation again today.

Islamic state spectre lingers

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who also present, backed Hadi, saying his party was satisfied with the clarification.

“We are satisfied that PAS is still strongly committed to achieving a united agenda so that there is political transformation in Malaysia,” he said.

The ideological clash between the Islamist PAS and secularist DAP is said to be the weak link in the coalition chain, particularly on the unsettled issue of establishing an Islamic state.

The DAP has consistently and vehemently opposed the concept of an Islamic state, which is one of the main political objectives of PAS.

The issue again became a thorn in Pakatan’side when Johor PAS chief, Mahfuz Mohamad, was reported to have made the Islamic state the main selling point at a ceramah in Labis, Johor, in the run-up to the Jan 30 Tenang by-election.

Commenting on the matter, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali, who was present at the press conference, said the party was looking into it.

“But even if he (Mahfuz) said that, it is not his decision to make. This must be decided by the party’s highest authority, which is the central working committee,” he said.

Mustafa reassured Pakatan of the party’s commitment to the coalition’s common agenda, saying that PAS would respect its obligations to the pact.

Meanwhile, Kit Siang also dispelled rumours of a friction on the matter, saying that all three component parties have agreed to pursue and implement what had been laid down in the coalition’s Common Policy Framework (CPF).

The Islamic state issue is not mentioned in the framework.

“In our CPF, we agreed that we want change. We have agreed on the same policies and what was not there in the framework, is not Pakatan’s objective and this is the stand of all the parties,” said Lim, the Ipoh Timur MP.