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Friday, December 31, 2021

Hadi: Umno should listen to their leaders, grassroots 'different story'

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang believes that most Umno Supreme Council members are in favour of cooperating with the Islamist party through Muafakat Nasional and Perikatan Nasional during future elections.

"Not all leaders in Umno want this cooperation. I understand that the majority in the supreme council wants cooperation. Umno should listen to its leaders, not the divisions.

"Divisions represent the grassroots. Itu lain cerita (that is a different story). We cannot follow western democracy. We must follow the leadership.

"The majority in Umno's leadership wants us (Malay parties) to unite," he told reporters after delivering his sermon at Masjid Rusila in Terengganu today.

Hadi (above) said PAS' position was that there shouldn't be three-cornered fights during future elections.

He said PAS wants Malays and "non-extreme non-Malays" to work together through PN.

"We are inviting Umno to come along. That is why we must strengthen Mufakat Nasional. It is a big roof... We believe we can win if we are united," he said.

In an immediate reaction, Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan urged Hadi to neither speak on behalf of nor speculate on the decisions made by Umno's leadership.

"Whether or not the majority of supreme council members support a position, it is a secret and should not be publicised. What is important is the position taken by the party," he said in a statement.

The official records show, according to Shahril, that Umno has never rejected Muafakat Nasional and that its official position is that the party cannot work with Bersatu, which is the lynchpin of PN.

"Therefore, when PAS insisted on going into the Malacca elections with PN, it placed Umno in a difficult position with regards to Muafakat Nasional. It forced multi-corner contests.

"This matter has been explained many times and the public is aware of the dilemma caused by PAS' position," said Shahril.

Shahril said Umno respected PAS' position and will not force the latter to do anything unwilling.

"Therefore, as a sign of good faith, we hope PAS will respect Umno's position and not force us or spread speculation with the hope that we should do what we do not want - especially with regards to a third party," said Shahril, in an obvious reference to Bersatu.

This form of mutual respect, he said, may help save Muafakat Nasional.

Muafakat Nasional was formed in 2019 between Umno and PAS as a pact aimed at taking on Pakatan Harapan.

The Harapan administration collapsed in February 2020 following Bersatu's decision to withdraw and form a new government. Following this, Bersatu formed the PN coalition, of which PAS is a member.

Since the formation of the PN coalition, ties between Umno and PAS had begun to fray. During the Malacca elections in November, PAS and Umno clashed over seven seats. Umno emerged victorious in those seven contests. - Mkini

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