KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi predicted an easier cooperation between his party and PAS than the fractious alliances the Islamist party had with previous partners.
Zahid noted that both Umno and PAS share a common ideology on Malay-Muslim interests, unlike the Islamists’ previous alliances with the secular DAP.
“When PAS was together with DAP, it was more difficult compared to PAS with Umno now, because we share the same philosophy.
“Our cooperation is in terms of common issues. It is much easier and simpler as compared to their previous collaboration with other parties, especially DAP,” said Ahmad Zahid at a press conference after the official signing of the PAS-Umno joint charter at PWTC, here today.
Zahid also said Umno’s Barisan Nasional partners, MCA and MIC, have not expressed objections to his party’s now-official alliance with PAS.
However, he said the matter will be formalised by the former ruling coalition in an upcoming supreme council meeting.
“They are components parties of BN, and though we had discussed on the matter, but we will announce it formally at the BN supreme council meeting in the near future.
“So far, these two parties have no objection at all,” he said.
MCA and MIC had previously opposed PAS, particularly over its attempts to expand shariah law in the country.
Today, Zahid insisted that the joint-charter was inclusive and would include non-Malays as part of its national agenda.
He sought to assure non-Muslims and non-Malays that PAS and Umno’s direction was not towards religious extremism or excessive Malay nationalism.
The combination of the country’s two largest Malay-Muslim parties is fueling concerns of increased racial polarisation in Malaysia.