KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — Umno MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan has suggested that now is the best time to unite the supporters of both his party and rival Islamist party PAS.
According to the urban wellbeing, housing and local government minister, this is because both the presidents of Umno and PAS put the unity of the ummah, or the community, above political or personal considerations.
“I feel that in decades of us politicking in this country, this is the best time to unite the Malays. At least among the supporters of Umno and PAS,” Abdul Rahman said in an interview published in Malay daily Utusan Malaysia today.
“We have two leaders that is Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang that put the interest of ummah unity above political or personal interests,” he added, referring to Umno and PAS presidents.
The Kota Belud MP said one of the factors contributing towards it is the formation of splinter Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), that brought Umno and PAS towards a united agenda.
“This is one of the advantage in the current political situation. Before this, we could not think that PAS and Umno can talk together,” he said.
Abdul Rahman had earlier in the interview said Umno is now at the advantage after PPBM chose to ally itself with DAP, a party which the Malays and Bumiputera allegedly see as a threat to their interests.
Yesterday, PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a surprise appearance at his former political foe DAP’s conference for the first time.
On the same day, former rivals Najib and Abdul Hadi also appeared side-by-side on a stage for a rally in solidarity with the persecuted Rohingya minority.
Umno and PAS relations have improved in recent times following the government’s support for a private member’s Bill by Hadi to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act in order to increase the Syariah courts’ punishment caps to a maximum 30 years’ imprisonment, RM100,000 fine and 100 lashes of the cane.