SHAH ALAM, 5 June 2009: PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang still sees cooperation with Umno as a solution to the country’s problems.
Hadi also claimed that PAS’s partners in Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), have agreed to some form of cooperation for the nation’s sake.
However, Hadi appeared to tone down his unity government proposal, saying that the opposition PR could act as “advisers” to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government. PAS, he said, could advise Umno on Islam.
“It is not that we have to rule the country. At this stage, we can be advisers to the government and not just an opposition that criticises,” Hadi said at a press conference after the opening of PAS’s 55th muktamar at Stadium Malawati today.
Hadi Awang delivering his speech at the muktamar
Fleshing out his concept of a unity government or cooperation with Umno, Hadi, in his press conference, said it was normal for the opposition to talk to the ruling government in a democracy.
He said PAS had previously shared common positions with the government on issues like the war in Bosnia and nuclear disarmament.
Hadi said his proposal to cooperate with Umno was not fully understood by the public. “Even Umno doesn’t understand it.”
“I believe it is still a solution to the country’s problems. It must be understood in detail so as to implement it in a way that is good for all.
“What I’m proposing is not just to bring the people closer together but also to bring political parties closer together so that despite differences, we can still work together,” Hadi said.
PKR and DAP support
Hadi also thanked PKR and DAP for supporting his idea of cooperation with Umno, saying that he had informed the two parties of the matter.
“I thank all those who received my proposal for a unity coalition positively, not just my Pakatan Rakyat colleagues who support it, but also Umno who agrees that it can solve the country’s problems.”
He was asked by a reporter to clarify if PKR and DAP had agreed to it, and he replied, “Yes, they accept. I have told them of it and they accept it … for the good of the country.”
Lim (File pic) However, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who attended the muktamar opening ceremony, told The Nut Graph later that the proposal had never been discussed.
“I’ll have to see exactly what Hadi said before I can comment further,” Lim said.
Later, Lim released a media statement that said he did know know what Hadi actually said but stressed that the proposal of a unity government between PR and BN was never discussed at any PR leadership meeting.
“Secondly, on the so-called unity talks to form an Umno-PAS government, it is something I read in the media. The subject was never discussed or raised in any PR leadership meeting,” he added.
Hadi was also asked about the motion by the Terengganu Ulama delegation to reserve the post of president, deputy president and at least one vice-president for religious scholars.
The motion was passed by the Dewan Ulama at their muktamar yesterday, and was intended for debate in the main party muktamar today.
Hadi said he did not know the details of the resolution, but stressed that PAS should be led collectively by both ulama and professionals.
However, PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar, who is also in charge of the muktamar’s resolutions committee, said that motion had been rejected because it did not fulfil the criteria for debate.
“The motion would involve changes to the party constitution, and this cannot be debated until it is discussed first by the party’s leadership,” he said when approached after the opening ceremony.
Amendments would be required as the constitution currently does not specify whether an alim [the singular for ulama] must hold the deputy president’s post.
The Dewan Ulama’s proposal was seen as a move to seal the concept of leadership by ulama in the party, in a bid to stave off challenges posed to incumbent deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa by two non-ulama contenders, Datuk Husam Musa and Mohamad Sabu.
Husam (Source: husammusa.com) Husam steadfast
Husam, who is going for broke in contesting the deputy presidency, reiterated his refusal to cooperate with Umno.
“If Umno is defeated later and wants to work with us, it’s okay. PAS must be above, Umno underneath. Never Umno above PAS, if not, we’re finished, there won’t be change,” Husam told reporters. He said PAS should remain as an alternative to Umno.
Husam also rebuffed Nasharuddin‘s statement that it was never PAS’s intention to join Umno. Nasharuddin had made the statement when opening the PAS Youth muktamar on the night of 3 June.
“It’s too late to say that. I am also in the party leadership so I know what is really going on. The truth will come later,” Husam said.
Husam, an incumbent vice-president, has used the anti-Umno platform for his campaign in this party election.
Voting for the party’s office-bearers will begin after 3pm. Only the president’s post was retained by Hadi who was uncontested.
PAS envisions federal power