KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) will not enter into a political pact or coalition with Umno because there are fundamental differences in principles between the parties, Dewan Ulama information chief Datuk Dr Mohd Khairudin Aman Razali At-Takiri said on Monday (Nov 21).
The Kuala Nerus MP said that while the Islamist party is ready to cooperate with Umno on issues that bring benefit to Muslims, such as the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, 1965, there will be no official partnership between the two Malay-Muslim parties.
"We will continue our policy of working with any party if it is for the benefit of the ummah. But we must stress that there will be no pact whatsoever between PAS and Umno," he said outside the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.
He also said PAS has made it clear on various occasions that it will no longer "follow other parties".
"PAS will remain on its own. Others can follow us, but we will not follow anyone. PAS needs to lead," he said, adding that the party's stand will not change heading into the next general election.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had on Sunday (Nov 20) called for political cooperation between Umno and PAS to strengthen Malay-Muslim unity in the country.
The minister in the Prime Minister's Department said Umno is prepared to "fulfil a religious obligation" by working with PAS and will raise a resolution for urgent debate at the party's upcoming annual general assembly from November 29 to December 3.
Meanwhile, PAS' Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the Islamist party may have no choice but to join hands with Umno to ensure its survival.
"It is not something I dream of, but PAS may be forced to cooperate with Umno if it wants to perform in the next general election," he said.
The former PAS information chief said he would prefer that the party join the Pakatan Harapan bloc, although this idea has been rejected altogether by party leaders.