PETALING JAYA: The Port Dickson by-election will help clear the air over the informal “understanding” between Umno and PAS, says Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa (pic).
“In a way, the by-election will make things clearer and let people know what stage our understanding is at.
“There is not even any loose cooperation between us, just an understanding on a case-by-case basis until and unless we have any further arrangement,” he said.
Annuar said the “understanding” between Umno and PAS had been misconstrued by the media as if both parties were cooperating and collaborating with each other.
“Umno is engaging and cooperating with any political party. This has been made clear many times.
“Sometimes journalists can’t differentiate between cooperation, collaboration and understanding, and simply write whatever is on their mind,” he claimed.
He also stressed that the current understanding between the two parties was an informal one.
“As far as the Port Dickson by-election is concerned, Umno made a decision earlier to boycott it, while PAS said they wanted to contest,” he said when contacted yesterday.
On talks between Umno and PAS to form a unity government, he said it was the prerogative of both party presidents to comment on it.
“No one should comment except them, not even at the party level,” Annuar added.
Meanwhile, PAS senior adviser Datuk Mustafa Ali said all talks on forming a unity government with Umno were off.
“It is only the dream of Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, not ours.
“We dropped it because a number of PAS leaders and the grassroots were opposed to the idea,” he said when contacted.
Mustafa acknowledged that PAS and Umno had merely worked together in the recent Sungai Kandis and Balakong by-elections.
“PAS is PAS and Umno is Umno,” he said, adding that Dr Ahmad Zahid’s interest in the idea was likely because he wanted Umno to be part of the government.
“But Pakatan Harapan is the government,” Mustafa said.
“PAS is in the opposition.”
The question over an Umno-PAS tie-up was among the issues raised during the recent Umno general assembly, with several members demanding that the leadership provide a clearer explanation and guidelines on its political cooperation with other parties, especially PAS.
The issue was further compounded by Umno sitting out the Port Dickson by-election and whether the party would help PAS in its campaign.
The Port Dickson parliamentary by-election will see a seven-cornered fight between Pakatan candidate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PAS candidate Mohd Nazari Mokhtar and five independent candidates, including Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad and Anwar’s former personal assistant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
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