PETALING JAYA: Datuk Mahfuz Omar believes the PAS leadership is divided over the decision to join forces with Umno.
Mahfuz believed that the statement by party vice-president Idris Ahmad urging individuals to quit the party if they wanted to see a merger with Umno implied there were two factions in the PAS leadership.
Mahfuz, the Pokok Sena MP, said in a statement that this implied there was one faction that wanted to cooperate with Umno and another against the idea, adding that he was unaware who made up the separate groups.
"Members say leaders are making contradicting statements. The statement by PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan has created a lot of speculation on the future and political direction of the party," he said.
On Dec 20, Takiyuddin said PAS was willing to cooperate with Umno, as forgiving is part and parcel of the party's political struggle.
Mahfuz said Idris's statement has "shocked and confused" grassroots members and he does not know the purpose and meaning behind the statement.
"Many members feel that the statement shows that some quarters in PAS are working to merge, collaborate and forge a relationship with Umno.
"One thing for sure, this involves the top PAS leadership and not normal members," he said, adding that a statement by an ordinary member would not require a response from Idris.
Mahfuz also said PAS members were baffled by the need for Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to say that even if PAS members opposed the partnership, they would have to accede to any decision made by the Syura Council.
"They want to know why Zahid made such a statement and how did he know the decision of the Syura council? Have they made a decision? The members are confused," adding that members want a definite answer from the PAS leadership.
Mahfuz, the former PAS vice-president, lost his position in the recent party polls.
There have been "friendly exchanges" recently between Umno president and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
During the recent Umno general assembly, Najib had said he was happy PAS was no longer part of Pakatan Rakyat and urged Umno to extend a "hand of friendship" to the Islamist party.
Last week, Najib shared the same stage with Abdul Hadi at the Regional Conference for Al-Azhar graduates in Kuala Lumpur.
It is understood that Abdul Hadi had previously sought a unity government with Umno, a proposal that was not favoured by some of the PAS party members.