Malaysia's PAS says ready to work with BN or go solo

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang says  it is ready to meet and work with the ruling government following its split earlier this year with its opposition allies.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang says it is ready to meet and work with the ruling government following its split earlier this year with its opposition allies.PHOTO: NSTP

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang has made the party's most direct overture, saying it is ready to meet and work with the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government following its split earlier this year with its opposition allies.

Datuk Seri Hadi however, said the move was not an indication it was forming a unity government as cooperation between the party and the Government had previously also existed.

"PAS joined a mixed Government in the 1970s to form a cooperation between 1974 and 1978. This is not a start but a new approach that we are taking," he told reporters at Parliament lobby on Tuesday (Oct 27).

His comments, which indicate an increasingly BN-friendly stance after the break-up of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance, come after PAS met pro-BN Malay rights group Perkasa earlier this month.

"We are willing to meet the ministers concerned and the Prime Minister towards resolving issues of the people," Hadi said.

He also said that the Islamist party is willing to work with any party, be it its former allies the Democratic Action Party (DAP) or Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), as long as it is for good.

"We will work together if the cooperation is for good but not if otherwise," he said.

Asked on his views on the newly formed opposition pact of Pakatan Harapan that the DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara recently formed, Hadi said he had no hope for an alliance with them. Parti Amanah Negara is made up of a faction of former PAS members. 

He likened Parti Harapan to an express bus travelling aimlessly without a proper destination.

He added that PAS is willing to go into the polls alone if the situation dictates.

"We have always stood alone as we have the branches and grassroots which other parties can rely on," he said.

Hadi also cited the recent Bersih 4.0 rally as an example where a PAS pullout left the event lacking of Malay support.

In response to Hadi's comments, Parti Amanah Negara's communications director Khalid Samad said PAS must clarify if it wants to remain an opposition party or one aligned to the BN.

He said that while PAS had a right to choose whom it worked with, they must clearly state their political direction.

"They must state what their direction is - whether they want a change of Government or remain in the opposition while defending Barisan," he told reporters at a press conference in Parliament lobby on Tuesday.

He said PAS must give a clear picture of the party's direction so voters can make a proper choice during polls.

He also accused PAS of "playing both sides" to gain support from voters as an opposition party, although it was supporting the government.