Umno-PAS partnership now out in the open, Dr M says

Ida Lim
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a press conference after a Pakatan Harapan meeting in Petaling Jaya September 7, 2018. ― Picture by Razak Ghazali

PETALING JAYA, Sept 7 — Umno and PAS are no longer having a covert partnership behind closed doors, but are now openly allies after coming out of the “room”, ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

Dr Mahathir said the partnership of the two political parties has become a “reality”, describing it as something which they had previously try to keep hidden.

“The thing which they once hid. Previously they cooperated but it was in the room only, and now they have come out from the room, we know lah,” he told reporters after chairing a PH presidential council meeting.

“Even when they were in the room, we knew,” he said.

Even before the 14th general election, the then ruling party Umno and the Islamist party PAS that styled itself as an Opposition party were suspected by critics of seeking to form an alliance.

The previous Umno-dominated BN government was seen as having facilitated PAS’ bid to have harsher Shariah penalties discussed in Parliament, while PAS had a relatively muted response to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal and had ambiguously stated previously that it was open to cooperation with anyone including Umno on religious matters. 

Both BN and PAS had also chosen not to field competing candidates in the same by-elections after the 14th general election. 

On Tuesday, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan unexpectedly showed up to help campaign for the BN candidate in the Balakong by-election.

Dr Mahathir said today that PH also discussed its potential role in the Sarawak state election that must be held latest by 2021, but said the coalition felt it was too early to decide on its stand in the matter.

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