Anwar will only explain to Nik Aziz, says PKR

Common to have difference of opinion, say opposition leader

(NST) – OPPOSITION leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is not obliged to explain his support for Israel’s security to any member  of the Pas Syura council except Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

  Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) secretary general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution stressed this in response to a call by the council’s senior members for Anwar to retract his statement.

  “Why should Anwar explain his statement to members of the Pas Syura council. There is no need for it. It is sufficient for Anwar to discuss the matter with Nik Aziz alone,”  Saifuddin said.

  PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said Anwar would meet Nik Aziz tomorrow to clarify the matter.

  “It is a common thing to have difference  of opinion among component parties.”

  On Friday, Pas Syura council member Datuk Mahfodz Mohamed said that during their meeting, some of his colleagues did not mince their words in demanding for Anwar to retract his statement supporting Israel’s security.

  Mahfodz, who is also Pas Dewan Ulama vice-chief, said   some of them were convinced that those were the very words uttered by Anwar.

  PKR wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said there was no need for Anwar to retract his statement.

  “We are not trading our principals or Islam just by making that stand.”

  Despite the uproar among several Pas ulama leaders over the issue, Pas vice-president Salahuddin Ayub chose to side with Anwar and said the opposition leader had a right to express his opinion.

  “It is normal to have different ideas or stands on this issue. Pas has a stern stance on Israel and we have tendered our opinions on the matter in the last Pakatan Rakyat meeting   last week.”

  He added that the proposed meeting between Anwar and Nik Aziz would give him a chance to explain his stand.

  “Let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Pas will decide on our official stand on this matter after that meeting.”

  On whether Pas would leave Pakatan Rakyat because of  the difference  of opinion on the matter, Salahuddin said there was no reason to leave just because of a single issue.

  Last Monday, Nik Aziz said he wanted to meet Anwar to seek a clarification on his statement during an interview with The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

  The buzz surrounding Anwar’s statement to WSJ was rekindled when the  Jerusalem Post contributing writer Michael Ordman expressed his approval of Anwar by stating: “And from the political world, I personally liked the news of the high regard that Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim gave to the Jewish state when asked whether he would open diplomatic ties with Israel”, in his blog (blogs.jpost. comcontentwe-have-lift), on Feb 6.

  Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Datuk Mashitah Ibrahim urged PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to explain her stand on the issue.

  “Dr Wan Azizah must explain her stand on Anwar’s statement as soon as possible to clear the air as further delay will only make things worse.

  “She must urge Anwar to sue WSJ if he had not made such a statement,” she added.

  In Kota Baru, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) vice-president Datuk Nik Sapeia Nik Yusoff said there was no need for Pas spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat to meet Anwar to hear his clarification on the issue as his stand was very clear.

  “He (Nik Aziz) should call off their meeting and Pas ought to distance itself from Anwar. In fact, it will be better if they (Pas) quit Pakatan Rakyat,” he said here yesterday.

  Nik Sapeia said Muslims in the country were very clear about Anwar’s position regarding the issue and would definitely make their stand in the next general election.

  “Pas must remember that it is an Islamic party and supporting the security of Israel is a big no.”