Hadi must lead Pakatan to get Malay votes, says Utusan

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang should lead Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as its current leaders are liabilities when it comes to winning Malay votes, according to Utusan Malaysia.

An editorial in today’s Mingguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition Utusan Malaysia, added that Malays needed to see a more dominant PAS in the tripartite coalition, contrasted to the Islamic party’s present deference to the Chinese-dominated DAP.

The Umno newspaper said that this was due to PAS’s stand in rejecting cooperation with other Muslim-backed parties in matters concerning the religion.

Utusan Malaysia argued that Abdul Hadi, who is said to favour talks with Umno, would be better received by Malays compared to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who are both firmly against anti-Umno.

“Awang believes that Anwar’s era has passed. As long as he is what the opposition relies on, then the potential to gain more support especially from Malays is limited.

“The opposition alliance needs to think of a leader that is cleaner to replace Anwar. Right now, PAS president Hadi Awang is the most suitable,” the writer said, adding that it was confident Abdul Hadi could win over Malays on the condition that PAS became more dominant in PR.

The issue of establishing an Umno-PAS unity government has been raised regularly since the March 2008 general election and continues to be a contentious issue in both PR and PAS, with a Christmas eve audience with the Agong attended by Abdul Hadi, Nik Aziz, PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa and Umno’s top two leaders reigniting the issue.

However, Nik Aziz is said to have attended at the Agong’s request but not to discuss a unity government and Abdul Hadi and Anwar had later met to clear the air over the meeting with Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy Tan Si Muhyiddin Yassin.

Using its Awang Selamat pseudonym, the Umno newspaper said today that in PR’s recent by-election defeats in Malay majority Tenang and Galas, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat were unable to bring in Malay votes.

“Nik Aziz was again a losing factor in Tenang after Galas, Kelantan,” he said, claiming that the Kelantan mentri besar’s cash gift to Orang Asli voters and the statement in Tenang that Muslims that did not vote for PAS was ignorant had backfired.

“Nik Aziz is making more mistakes especially with his stand on race and religion. More disappointing is that Nik Aziz appears to be controlled by DAP,” he added.

The writer added that if PAS wanted to increase its votes in the March 6 Merlimau by-election, Nik Aziz should not speak up at all. 

“If Tok Guru opens his mouth, danger awaits PAS,” wrote Awang, adding that Nik Aziz, who was once touted as a suitable chairman once PR is officially registered, should go through a “mouth management” programme to safeguard PAS’s authority.

“The opposition will get nowhere if they do not win over the hearts of the Malay majority. That is the reality of Malaysian politics,” he added.