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Unity Goverment : PAS says no thanks for now to unity talks with Umno

Posted by amkpermatangpauh on June 9, 2009

By Leslie Lau

Consultant Editor
KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin took his party’s courtship of PAS onto national television tonight, telling the Islamist party to “never say never” to cooperation and talks with the lynchpin of the Barisan Nasional (BN).

But Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the PAS central committee member who took over from deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa to appear live on cable network Astro Awani, appeared to rebuff Khairy’s advances tonight.

“I think there are many mechanisms for cooperation like in Parliament or in the way the federal government treats Pakatan Rakyat (PR) governments. But we do not see any cooperation with our governments.

“PAS cannot make any decision without talking to its partners. We have an agreement,” said Mujahid.

Khairy, who proposed earlier today that PAS reopen talks with Umno in a move seen by DAP and PKR as a strategy designed to drive a wedge between PR parties, acknowledged the possibility of “restriction” in the ties between the BN federal government and PR states.

“But this may be because of prejudice on the part of Pakatan governments. PAS is more moderate. It is more rational. Maybe it is the DAP and PKR who harbour hatred for Umno,” he said.

But in a telling moment, Mujahid kept laughing as Khairy kept suggesting it was DAP and PKR who were to be blamed while putting forward the idea that the Umno-led BN was not at fault.

When Khairy continued to press home his point that PAS should take control and shape its own destiny, Mujahid responded: “We must remember that we cannot do something while destroying what we have.”

The subject of unity talks between PAS and Umno dominated last weekend’s PAS assembly and elections which saw a number of leaders who are keen on exploring talks with Umno emerging big winners.

But while Nasharudin, who took part in talks with Umno after last year’s general election, and party president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang still appear keen on talks with the BN party, there is still widespread displeasure from among many other party leaders and members.

Umno’s attempt at courting PAS again appears to be an attempt at a divide-and-rule strategy designed to break up the fledgling PR alliance.

This development has touched a raw nerve among DAP and PKR leaders with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng demanding PAS explain itself.

It is unclear why Nasharudin chose not to appear on Astro with Khairy tonight, but the choice of Mujahid allowed viewers to probably gauge the middle ground in the Islamist party.

Earlier, Khairy emphasised his suggestion for Umno-PAS talks to be resumed was merely to explore the possibility of an informal cooperation between the country’s two biggest parties.

He also denied there was any attempt by Umno to form any unity government with PAS, as has been suggested since last year’s talks between the two parties.

But Mujahid pointed out that the idea of talks could only happen if there was a tipping point such as a national crisis or if there was a conducive environment.

“The conducive environment is not there yet. Look at the situation in Perak and right now it is clear that the media is bias towards one side only,” said the PAS man.

But Khairy remained persistent throughout the half-hour programme, hammering home the point that PAS should keep its options open and “never say never”.

Eventhough Mujahid continued to politely decline Khairy’s advances, the door could still be ajar for Umno-PAS talks and much could depend on how the public perceives the suggestion and how Nasharudin and Hadi respond to the pressure from Umno, its own members and PR partners.

Source : The Malaysian Insider

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