KUALA LUMPUR - Umno on Sunday (March 28) called on Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) to be an “honest and sincere” partner in their political cooperation, instead of continuing to support the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition that Umno is cutting ties with.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in his opening speech at the party's annual assembly, said PAS contravened the Muafakat Nasional (MN) agreement - a deal that binds Umno and the Islamist party as allies - by joining PN without consultation.
"The political pact between Umno and PAS is based on mutual philosophy... We had agreed that any party in MN shouldn't be too hasty to join any political pact," he said.
“Let me stress that we supported the formation of a government known as PN. However, some parties (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and PAS) later established the PN political coalition without even consulting us.So where does Umno stand on this?" he asked.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was sitting on stage at the Umno assembly as an honoured guest, when Zahid was making his speech a few metres way.
In Malaysia's complicated politics, the country's governing coalition PN is led by Bersatu whose president is Tan Sri Muhyiddin.
PAS is an official member of PN, while Umno supports the government for now but is not an official member of PN.
Umno has also been at loggerheads with Bersatu, as it sees itself playing second fiddle in government.
Umno is set to cut ties with Mr Muhyiddin and PN at the upcoming elections, and is thus pushing PAS to do the same.
PAS has repeatedly insisted that the three parties - itself, Umno and Bersatu - team up to ensure a Malay Muslim-dominated government is formed after the polls.
Datuk Seri Hadi, and his deputy Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who was also an invited guest at the assembly, declined to comment on what Zahid said when approached by reporters.
But other PAS leaders have responded to Zahid's speech.
PAS Youth deputy chief Mohamed Sukri Omar said Umno should not be rude to its guests. "If our father is hurt, we are prepared to face you and will not keep quiet," he said in a Facebook post.
In a tweet, PAS secretary-general and Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan said: "True friendship should not prevent your friend from being friends with others. I may have lost someone who didn't love me, but you lost someone who truly loved you."
Zahid in his speech also said Umno would not work with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim or the Chinese-led Democratic Action Party (DAP), a regular bogeyman for Umno, a Malay nationalist party.
"I need to stress our stand in facing GE15 (next general election), we stand by the Umno Supreme Council's decision - no Bersatu, no Anwar, no DAP," Zahid said.
The DAP is a member of the three-party opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan which is led by Datuk Seri Anwar.
"We (Umno and PAS) must both be on the same ground to enjoy the gains. The most important thing is the honesty and sincerity of our political partner in MN. It's not too late (for PAS) to return to the right path," said Zahid.