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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Najib lays down BN carpet for PAS

Najib invited PAS to carry on its fight within BN. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today threw open the doors for PAS to join Barisan Nasional and further the concerns of Malays and Muslims, telling the Islamist party it could not achieve its aims while partnering with DAP.

“Why play nice with DAP? Does DAP champion Islam?” Najib asked in Kuala Terengganu today.

The prime minister is currently in the Terengganu state capital, where he is visiting together with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said and other Cabinet ministers.

“(Datuk Seri) Hadi (Awang), enough of the DAP, leave the DAP, join BN,” Najib was quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama today.

Najib’s invitation follows a call last weekend by Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia for a “1 Melayu, 1 Bumi” campaign to unite Malays against what the newspaper said was racial politics by DAP to stir up Chinese sentiment.

It also continues concerted efforts by Umno post-Election 2008 to get PAS to join forces in the name of Malay-Muslim unity.

The subject of unity talks between PAS and Umno had dominated the 2009 PAS Muktamar, which saw a number of leaders who are keen on exploring talks with Umno emerging big winners.

More recently, top PAS and Umno leadership met at a Christmas Eve dinner hosted by the Yang diPertuan Agong last year, during which the subject of Malay unity was once again broached.

Sources told The Malaysian Insider the move then to bring PAS into the BN entailed both PAS president Hadi and his deputy Nasharuddin Mat Isa being given a prominent role in Putrajaya if the party decides to abandon Pakatan Rakyat (PR), but that spiritual advisor Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat continues to be the major obstacle in bringing PAS closer to the ruling coalition.

Following the furore over the Christmas Eve meet, Hadi had reassured partners in PR that the Islamist party was committed to remaining in the pact.

In an interview with The Malaysian Insider last year, Nik Aziz also said there was no possibility of PAS working with Umno or joining BN.

“Absolutely not. There is no way that PAS would even consider unity talks with Umno,” said Nik Aziz.

He recounted how PAS had in the past briefly joined Barisan Nasional (BN) and that it resulted in a divided PAS.

According to Nik Aziz, back in 1971 PAS had joined BN’s bandwagon when the late Tun Abdul Razak — Najib’s father — extended an invitation to the Islamist party.

“Umno was desperate back then, especially after the May 13 riots in 1969. When PAS joined BN, PAS Kelantan was split into four splinter groups, and we were not united because each group supported a different idea,” he said.

Nik Aziz pointed out that Umno eventually “kicked PAS out” of the BN coalition.

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