PAS hangs on to Malay-Muslim agenda even as Bersatu toys with ‘big tent’ idea

(MMO) – PAS will not join a grand coalition of political parties that Pakatan Harapan is proposing to take on Barisan Nasional in the 15th general election, vice president Datuk Mohd Amar Abdullah insisted today.

The Islamist party would rather pursue its agenda to unify Muslims with others that prioritise the Islamic community’s rights, he said in a statement.

“PAS’s principles in the call for the unification of the ummah are clear. PAS stands firm on the principle of political cooperation that first strengthens Muslims while at the same time allying with non-extreme non-Muslim parties and upholding the principles of the Federal Constitution.

“PAS will not stop calling on all Malay-Muslim parties, both Umno and Bersatu, to work together in rebuilding the country and strengthening Muslims,” he said.

The statement appeared to be a response to Bersatu saying it was prepared to entertain the “big tent” concept PH was proposing as a foil to BN’s ambitions of regaining sole control of the federal government at the next general election.

Sources from the party told Malay Mail that the Perikatan Nasional coalition, which includes PAS, has not rejected the idea despite public remarks to the contrary.

The sources said the proposal was among issues discussed during the party’s supreme council meeting last week, which included the possibility of allying with former allies-turned-rivals in PH.

Last month, PN chairman and Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also said he was open to the “big tent” idea, adding that this would prevent clashes between PN and PH while ensuring a straight fight with BN in the election.

PN and BN are in a complicated political relationship in which the former supports the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob but is openly hostile towards his Umno.

In the state elections of Melaka and Johor, for instance, PN candidates contested against those in BN, resulting in multi-cornered contests.