KUALA LUMPUR: Confusion reigns over whether PAS is with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or still cooperating with Umno.
Instead of clearing the air, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan issued a statement saying that PAS supports the Prime Minister’s agenda on religion, the nation and race.
This has raised more questions on where the Islamist party stands politically.
Just hours after the statement by Takiyuddin, questions are swirling on whether the party could work with Umno while supporting Dr Mahathir.
Takiyuddin had earlier yesterday said all 18 PAS MPs would support Dr Mahathir until the next general election.
He said the party had informed Dr Mahathir of its commitment.
“A sample of the written declaration was given as a commitment of support by PAS to Dr Mahathir’s leadership on the basis of upholding the interests of religion, the country and race until GE15,” he told reporters in Terengganu after a PAS central committee meeting yesterday.
There was also an agreement to foster better cooperation between the federal and state governments of Terengganu and Kelantan on matters of administration, development and oil royalty, he said.
Takiyuddin’s statement came just a day after Dr Mahathir claimed that PAS had formally stated it would not support Umno in the March 2 Semenyih by-election.
At the same press conference, PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad said: “We are all united and when our president (Abdul Hadi) make such a statement, we stand solidly behind him.
“There are no differing camps. It is for the nation, as Pakatan Harapan has won and it has to think of the economy, but it has yet to do so.
“We then heard that he has warned those who betray Pakatan. We thus felt the need to give our 18 MPs’ commitment to Dr Mahathir to lead the nation,” said Idris.
Also present were Kuala Nerus MP Datuk Dr Khairuddin Aman Razali and PAS leaders Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed, Nasruddin Hassan Tantawi, Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi and Razman Zakaria.
However, Dr Mahathir said yesterday a collaboration between PAS and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was not on the cards, although the Islamist party had voiced confidence in his leadership.
According to Dr Mahathir, PAS said it would not support Umno during the Semenyih by-election because the opposing candidate was from Bersatu and not DAP.
Takiyuddin said PAS informed Dr Mahathir its “degree of commitment” to supporting Barisan Nasional in the Semenyih by-election was different from its commitment during the Cameron Highlands by-election.
“This is in line with our consistent stand that we place priority on Malay and Muslim interests above others, just like how PAS retains its ties with Umno for the sake of solidarity with the opposition,” he said.
Takiyuddin said there was no written declaration or any other letters to the Prime Minister with regard to the Semenyih by-election.
He said PAS would be involved in the Semenyih by-election.
“PAS leaders, including me, were there for the nomination of the opposition candidate. That is our commitment,” said Takiyuddin.
Earlier during a press conference, Terengganu Mentri Besar Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar described claims by Dr Mahathir that PAS would not support Umno in Semenyih as “a mind game”.
Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Marzuki Yahya said that the move by PAS to support Dr Mahathir’s leadership was “most welcome”.
“Endorsing Dr Mahathir is like endorsing Pakatan as he is the chairman of the coalition. This, however, does not mean they are in the coalition,” said Marzuki.
Fellow Bersatu supreme council member Tareq Ismail said it was time for everyone to put aside differences for the future of the country.
“Let’s look ahead and not at past issues. If PAS can work together and build for the future of this country, why not?
“It is time to tone down the politicking and deliver to the people. PAS is not joining Pakatan, so our agenda is not compromised,” said Tareq.