IPOH, March 3 — The Perak chapters of Umno and PAS will meet next week to discuss further on areas of cooperation after their respective leaderships announced a formal union, said Datuk Saarani Mohamad.
Speaking to Malay Mail, Saarani said Perak Umno was among the earliest state to moot the cooperation.
“We have agreed to meet two months ago. There is no looking back anymore,” the Perak Umno chairman said.
“It was during the 14th general election where both parties have agreed to form a coalition government but in the end failed due to pressures and objections from PAS grassroots,” he said.
Following that failure, leaders of both parties went to the ground to explain to their respective members.
“Umno told its members that for the party’s survival, it needs to merge with PAS. PAS also told its members to forgive Umno. Now with the opportunity arising to form a coalition, we do not have a problem,” he said, admitting that it was the ego of both parties that led to a break among Malays.
The first test to see if both parties could work together was during the Melayu Bangkit rally at Pasir Salak and the second test was during the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) rally.
“We knew we were on the right track when members of both parties from Gerik, Parit Buntar and Bagan Serai could share a bus to attend the rally,” he said.
He said for Perak, things were easier as he has ties with Perak PAS commissioner Razman Zakaria since both were from Lenggong.
“The wounds are still there but it is up to the members. I told Umno members to forgive PAS members. Razman also told PAS members to forgive Umno. If we can put aside the past, the love and trust will come,” he added.
The allegiance, added Saarani, would also see Barisan Nasional (BN) winning more seats in Perak.
Citing Titi Serong state seat as an example, Saarani said BN and PAS lost to Pakatan Harapan candidate with a 140 majority.
“But if BN and PAS were to join hands, we can beat PH,” he said, adding the formula was proven successful in Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections.
The Kota Tampan assemblyman also allayed fears in MCA and MIC over the “marriage” between Umno and PAS.
“Umno and PAS will only contest in majority Malay seats. We cannot contest in Ipoh,” he added.