No plans for PPBM to work with PAS: Mahathir

PUCHONG • A collaboration between opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) is not on the cards, although the Islamist party's leaders have expressed confidence in Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's leadership.

Tun Dr Mahathir stressed yesterday they had not discussed the possibility of his party working together with PAS when its president Abdul Hadi Awang, secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan and Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar met him recently.

"They only said they would not support Umno in this (Semenyih) by-election, because Umno was not fighting against DAP (Democratic Action Party)," he said. "But they did not say they would support the Pakatan Harapan candidate from PPBM."

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi confirmed there was a meeting with Dr Mahathir last Friday, but merely said they discussed administrative matters, while Dr Mahathir said they discussed "politics".

The next day, Dr Mahathir claimed PAS had formally stated it would not support Umno in the March 2 Semenyih by-election.

"PAS has said they will not support Umno in the by-election. They confirmed this not only verbally, but in writing that was signed," he said.

However, Dr Mahathir clarified yesterday that he had only received a sample of the support letter endorsed by Mr Takiyuddin.

"I did not receive any letter signed by Hadi and (Ahmad) Samsuri. I only have one letter," he said, adding that PAS would eventually submit a written endorsement.

Dr Mahathir said they needed to reach an agreement to ensure both sides have representation in village committees, for example.

"In Kelantan and Terengganu, Pakatan Harapan does not have representatives in village committees," he said. "In states controlled by Pakatan, PAS wants representation in various bodies and local planning."

Dr Mahathir's clarifications on the status of the letter did not go down well with PAS, with Dr Samsuri - who is also PAS election strategist - saying the premier was using psychological warfare.

He said the letter Dr Mahathir was referring to was the one signed by the Islamist party in support of strengthening the Islamic, Malay and the people's agenda.

"PAS supports the PM in this agenda and it has nothing to do with the Semenyih by-election," said Dr Samsuri.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2019, with the headline 'No plans for PPBM to work with PAS: Mahathir'. Print Edition | Subscribe