Khalid: No PAS-Umno unity even at Agong’s behest

(The Malaysian Insider) – Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad has declared PAS will never join Umno in a “unity government”, even if the Islamist party were asked to do so by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong himself.

“I guarantee that PAS will not join Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) even if invited by the King,” he said at Taman Sri Manja during PKR’s first Jelajah Pemimpin 2011 roadshow last night.

The PAS leader said co-operating with Umno was to work with those who ignored Islamic practice, and likened Umno to Muslims who patronised nightclubs to drink alcohol.

He stressed that PAS would rather work with PKR and DAP in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) based on the Islamic principles of justice and truth rather than race alone.

“We picked Pakatan Rakyat because Umno is rotten to the core,” he said.

The Malaysian Insider reported in December that PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat met with Umno leaders at Istana Terengganu on Christmas Eve last year at the request of the Agong for “unity talks”.

Khalid called Umno “rotten to the core.”

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin were present at the private dinner, together with former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The meeting was seen as another attempt to revive the talks on political co-operation with Umno in the name of Malay-Muslim unity.

However, sources told The Malaysian Insider that talks broke down over a dispute on non-Muslims’ right to use the word “Allah”, a dispute which remains before the Malaysian courts.

The question of political co-operation with Umno became a major campaign issue in the 2009 PAS election after it was revealed that its leaders, including PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa and Selangor chief Datuk Hasan Ali, met Abdullah and former Selangor mentri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo after Election 2008 to explore the possibility of forming a unity government.

Leaders aligned to Nik Aziz then accused Nasharuddin of conspiring to take PAS out of PR, but the deputy president successfully defended his post in a three-cornered fight with Mohamad Sabu and Kelantan executive councillor Datuk Husam Musa.

PAS now holds 23 parliamentary seats within the PR coalition and controls two states, Kelantan and Kedah. The other two PR-ruled states are Penang and Selangor.

Sources familiar with the latest move to bring PAS into the BN government revealed that both PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Nasharuddin would be given prominent roles in Putrajaya if the party decides to abandon PR, but Nik Aziz continues to be the major obstacle in bringing the party closer to the ruling coalition.