Nik Aziz: Unity talks with UMNO ridiculous
S Pathmawathy & P Tarani @www.malaysiakini.com
June 6, 2009
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and the party’s spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat are heading in opposite directions on the issue of forming a unity government with PAS arch-rival UMNO.
While Abdul Hadi had been a proponent of such talks with their arch rivals, the veteran Nik Aziz was adamant that the Islamic party should not even be thinking about the idea.
“The call to have a unity government with UMNO is ridiculous,” he told a ceramah tonight. The ceramah, held as the Melawati Stadium in Shah Alam at night, was part of the party’s muktamar. Some 4,000 people were there to hear their Tok Guru talk.
Nik Aziz, who is the Kelantan menteri besar, said that it was pointless to even discuss forming a unity government with UMNO, whom he labelled as a party which practiced gangsterism politics.
“PAS should not have any discussion with UMNO, and UMNO should not have any with PAS .Our goal is to spread Islam and not to contest to see who leads and who follows,” he said.
Nik Aziz, however, did not rule out having discussions with UMNO on other matters.
“We will not talk to them on forming a government but discussions on other matters are okay,” he said.
He also lashed out at some of the debaters at the muktamar session today for wasting time in “teaching Islam to those in PAS who are well versed in it”.
Hadi: Pakatan will agree
Nik Aziz’s stand on the unity talks with UMNO is not new. He has been a strigent opponent to such talks. He had previously said that he did not trust UMNO after the failed experience of cooperation in 1970s when PAS was briefly part of Barisan Nasional.
Yesterday, party president Abdul Hadi spoke of the need to continue to venture the possibilities of a unity government with UMNO in his policy speech.
And at a press conference later, he had said both PKR and DAP have “reacted positively” to his suggestion in forming a unity government. Abdul Hadi also said that PAS will continue to encourage dialogues with all parties.
“(It is) not just members of Pakatan Rakyat who support us fully but also members of UMNO, who want our cooperation to work together in solving the problems confronting the country,” he insisted.
His remarks were however quickly disputed by PKR and DAP leaders, who said that the matter was never discussed at Pakatan level. And today Abdul Hadi revisited the topic again by suggesting that Pakatan would eventually come around to agreeing to the unity talks.
“What cannot be done today doesn’t mean it cannot be done in the future,” he said when asked at the sidelines of the muktamar. He also added that the Pakatan leaders had not received correct information on the matter.
According to him, the formation of any unity government must be endorsed by Pakatan, but he does not rule out the possibility of that happening.