PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's main Islamist party Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) has invited Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the opposition party set up by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, to discuss seat distribution for the next general election, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin said.
He said this was the result of a meeting between Bersatu's deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir and his PAS counterpart Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
"We have received news that PAS is inviting us to discuss how to divide the seats," Muhyiddin, a former deputy prime minister, told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday (March 8).
He said that they would begin discussions on the matter shortly.
The general election is widely to be expected to be called this year, although it is not due to be held until August next year.
Talk of a potential alliance between Bersatu, the new political party comprising disgruntled former Umno members led by the nonagenarian Mahathir, and PAS has captured headlines.
A Bersatu-PAS alliance could be significant given recent strains in PAS’s relationship with erstwhile political allies in the opposition movement and its flirtation with the ruling Umno.
Muhyiddin said on Wednesday whether Bersatu's ties with PAS would be affected by the current bad blood between the Islamist party and Chinese-oriented opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) is a matter to be addressed later.
"Our aim is for Bersatu and PAS to reach a consensus.
"After that, we will take into account the issues and see if we can find a middle ground," said Muhyiddin.
On the possibility of PAS and its splinter party Parti Amanah Negara competing for the same seats, Muhyiddin said this was not an issue restricted to the two parties but also Pakatan Harapan, the more established opposition alliance.
He said this was why discussions were important and hoped that the parties would stay focused on the bigger picture.