PAS refrains from stating stand on Anwar for PM

Opalyn Mok, Ida Lim and Md Izwan, The Malaysian Insider

PAS refused today to remark on DAP’s renewed support at its national congress here for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the next prime minister should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) win the next general election.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali declined to state his party’s stand when asked to comment, and only said that the matter should only be decided after nominations close for national polls.

During his party’s just-concluded annual muktamar, PAS delegates had repeatedly called for their president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to take on the prime minister’s role instead of Anwar.

Their call was immediately interpreted by PR’s political foes as a move by the Islamist party to assert dominance in the four-year-old pact, or a reflection of its purported failure to agree on fundamental issues.

“We do have our views on this but we will not disclose our stand on this for now,” Mustafa told a press conference after the opening of DAP’s 16th national congress here.

He added that DAP was entitled to express its own views on the topic but would neither agree nor disagree with his party’s coalition partner.

“I feel the appropriate time to announce our views on who should be the next Prime Minister is after nomination of the candidates for the general elections,” Mustafa said.

In his opening speech at the congress this morning, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh had said the party will give its cooperation to Anwar as the prime minister if PR were to conquer Putrajaya.

DAP had previously said that all components of PR had reached an agreement that Anwar will be the next prime minister.

According to Mustafa, for someone to be a prime minister, he would have to be nominated as a candidate and get the people’s mandate by winning in the elections so it is not appropriate to name a prime minister now when it is not certain the person will be nominated.

On the DAP-PAS relationship, he admitted that there may have been differences between the parties but that it was not a major problem.

“We have a bigger goal to achieve together as partners in PR and this is a huge responsibility,” he said.

He said the differences can be resolved but also blamed mainstream media, specifically Star and Utusan Malaysia, for playing certain issues out of proportion and presenting a false impression of a supposed rift between DAP and PAS.

Earlier this morning, Karpal had labelled PAS as a solid principal partner of the PR pact despite the differences between both parties.

The relationship between both parties have been ‘rocky’ due to Karpal’s hardline stand against hudud and the Islamic state, both issues which PAS is intent on introducing.

This has been widely exploited by the BN to tear the PR alliance apart as the polls draw near.