Umno chief calls for merger with PAS

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has called for a merge between his party and long-time rival Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has called for a merge between his party and long-time rival Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).PHOTO: THE STAR

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has called for his party and long-time rival Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) to merge, saying it was a mistake "to fight each other".

The radical move reflects how far Malaysia's once-dominant party Umno has fallen just six months after the May general election that toppled it from power.

Umno and PAS share a bitter history, including PAS calling its rival "infidel" for working with non-Muslim parties.

A demoralised Umno today has been hit by lawmaker defections and faces a shortage of funds.

Zahid made the merger call at a meeting with PAS leaders, including its president Abdul Hadi Awang. In his speech after Zahid spoke, Datuk Seri Hadi did not respond to the merger offer.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2018, with the headline 'Umno chief calls for merger with PAS'. Print Edition | Subscribe