Tun M: Negotiation with Pas still opens even after March 17 deadline

ADIE SURI ZULKEFLI


ALOR STAR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he would open negotiations with Pas to co-operate in the opposition pact even after his one-month ultimatum expired on March 17.

Dr Mahathir, who is the chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, said the discussions with Pas to collaborate with Pakatan Harapan in the next general election could still be held after the deadline.

“In general, they (Pas) are not showing any sign that they are willing to work with us and some of them (Pas leaders) have even resorted to calling me names.

“However, there is another group in Pas which is interested in collaborating with us. What is important is the party’s stand and not that of an individual.

“So, if there is a room to discuss the matter even after the deadline, we are open for it,” he told reporters after attending Kedah PPBM divisional chiefs meeting here today.

Present was his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, who is PPBM deputy president.

Dr Mahathir admitted that Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang still refused to meet with PPBM president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss the proposed electoral pact between both parties.

“We cannot be forcing people, it is like ‘hidung tak mancung, pipi tersorong-sorong’,” he said in jest, referring to a Malay proverb.

Meanwhile, Mukhriz acknowledged that the party would pursue its talks with Pas even after the March 17 deadline.

“The negotiation with Pas will continue even after the deadline and we are also working with Pakatan Harapan to discuss seat allocation,” he said.

Mukhriz hoped that Pakatan Harapan top leadership would set a date for a meeting with PPBM to discuss on issues of principles in negotiating the distribution of seats to contest.

“That is why it is paramount for us to sit down with Pakatan Harapan leaders so that we can have mutual understanding on the issues of principles before we move on to discuss on the seat allocation,” he said.

Mukhriz said he did not discount the possibility that there would be different “zoning” system in the negotiation of seats.

This, he said, would depend on the opposition parties which held the majority seats, such as DAP in Penang, PKR in Selangor and Pas in Kelantan.