Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today reiterated his stand that he is open to holding talks with PAS to form a unity government.
He said that he feels PAS is sincere in wanting a unity government with Umno.
“Umno is always open and ready to listen and consider any proposals made by PAS,” he told reporters after attending a function in Kuala Lumpur today.
He said the propos
ed unity talks will be just a starting point as he wants to know more about what form of cooperation the two parties can forge.
“We have to make enquiries, like when we want to marry, we have to enquire first. Whether it happens or not, we will see,” he said, as reported by Bernama.
“Let fate decide, whatever form (of cooperation) we don’t know yet. After that, we can discuss … no problems at all,” he added.
The issue of PAS forming a unity government with Umno had cropped up again at the recently held PAS muktamar where it was openly promoted by party president Abdul Hadi Awang.
Najib had then said he would welcome such talks but that he would have to leave the final decision to Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders.
Hadi’s proposal met with severe objections from his own party although his deputy Nasharuddin Mat Isa was supportive of the idea.
PAS leaders who are against such talks include its spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat who has called it “ridiculous” to hold talks with Umno.
Former vice-president Husam Musa is also another known critic.
Today Nasharuddin welcomed Najib’s willingness to hold such talks. He however stressed that PAS will not be BN’s puppet.
“This is the first serious response from the prime minister but I can’t speak on behalf of PAS. I have to take this to the president and the party,” he told reporters in Parliament.
Open to discussion, not for merger
The Bachok parliamentarian however reiterated that this was not an indicator to reinforce speculations that PAS was thinking of joining forces with Umno.
“PAS is open to discussion with any parties and this was a decision taken last year and once more at this year’s muktamar.
“The issue of PAS going into Umno or BN does not arise,” he said.
Meanwhile another party leader Khalid Samad questioned Umno’s sincerity in wanting to hold the unity talks with PAS.
He also added that the idea of forging unity talks with Umno was the personal opinion of Hadi and not a unanimous decision of the party.
“We can sense their (Umno) insincerity in their response to the proposal when it was made by the president in his personal capacity with the fullest sincerity,” said Khalid, who is the Shah Alam PAS head.
“Najib’s attempt to reply that there are serious proposals is nothing more than a ploy,” he said.
He also revealed that the party has issued a gag order to stop the party’ top leaders from talking on the issue.
“The gag order was issued because the matter was being twisted by people like Najib… the fact is that it was not raised in the keynote speech or resolutions… the issue cropped up during a press conference and it was exaggerated,” he said.
“We want to strengthen Pakatan Rakyat and get rid of Umno. Umno is aware of it but they want to create confusion to raise doubts on PAS’s direction,” Khalid added.
Hadi to explain to Pakatan on Monday
Pakatan Rakyat leader have also expressed their concerns on Hadi’s readiness to talk with Umno.
However PKR leader and Pakatan’s supremo Anwar Ibrahim today said that he had Hadi’s undertaking of his commitment to Pakatan.
Anwar said that Hadi will be explaining his stand to the Pakatan leaders at a meeting next Monday.
“He is committed to Pakatan Rakyat… he will give his full view in the Pakatan meeting next Monday.
“He is committed to Pakatan Rakyat and will only discuss with Umno leaders if Umno is committed to some reform including free and fair election and judiciary independence,” Anwar told reporters in Parliament.
In a related development, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali said a press conference will be held tomorrow at party headquarters to comment on Najib’s statement on unity talks.
Nizar did it on purpose
On another matter, Najib also accused ousted Bukit Gantang member of parliament Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin of purposely causing a ruckus in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
“It’s normal… he did it on purpose,” he said.
Nizar, the ousted Perak menteri besar, was ordered out of the House and was subsequently suspended for two days by speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia for violating the House dress code.
Nizar had tied a black headband around his songkok and shouting â€˜Hidup Rakyat, Bubar DUN’ (Long live the people, Dissolve the state assembly) right after taking his oath.
Six other Pakatan Rakyat parliamentarians were also suspended for two days for similarly violating the House dress code.
Source : Malaysiakini