PAS, Ikatan seal 'third force' pact

Hadi, Kadir and other leaders from PAS and Ikatan at the press conference

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS and Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan) formally sealed an agreement on Wednesday to work towards political cooperation and to act as an opposition "by advising" the Government.

In announcing this at a joint press conference, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the new pact would focus on empowering the people and upholding the constitution.

He said the pact would take a mild approach in opposing the Government.

"We don’t want to be an Opposition which is extreme in going against the Government.

"We want to be a pact that opposes the Government by advising them. We will still give them credit when they do good for the people,” Hadi said.

Ikatan president Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said Ikatan agreed to cooperate with PAS as it was not an “extreme” party.

"PAS practices Islam and Islam teaches its followers to respect other faiths. When we know what Islam is, we know that PAS is good for everyone,” he said.

Kadir said the new pact, seen as a third force in the local political scene, would engage the Government in solving the woes plaguing the people, especially when it comes to socio-economic matters.

On whether the cooperation signalled Ikatan’s agreement to PAS’ Islamic state agenda, Kadir said "it is not what PAS is about."

"There are so many things in Islam that we can focus on. But in certain circumstances, it could be better if (the implementation) is postponed.

"At the end of the day, it is the people who will decide. Islam also teaches its followers to tackle poverty, drugs abuse for example.

"Islam has a lot of other universal values that we should follow,” said Kadir, who is a former Federal minister, including holding the tourism and information portfolio.

Hadi, when asked of DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang's view that the bloc carried no weight to the political landscape, said: "Only God knows the future”.

Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding on the political cooperation.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the new group, which is led by PAS, comprised “like-minded political parties” and NGOs in a more neat and structured form.

“It is hoped that this new grouping will bring about a more mature political model that is clearly transparent, responsible and clean,” he said.

On contesting in the general election, PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said both parties had not made any decision.

"We have set up a secretariat consisting of a secretary-general, information chief, youth and women chiefs and election directors as well as five committee members.

"Only then we will decide,” he said.

Kadir said Ikatan will not be contesting in the upcoming Sarawak elections but will support their new ally.

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