KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Past stories on the spat between Umno and PAS are irrelevant as the two parties have changed their leadership, approach, policies, and have a different political view, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa said.
In an interview with Utusan Malaysia, Annuar said the move was seen as an attempt to lessen the unity within the Malay Muslim community.
“At that time, PAS was the Opposition and Umno was the government under Dr Mahathir’s leadership now he is ‘on the other side’. The present Umno is without Mahathir, therefore the old tales are no longer relevant.
“Perhaps previously, the issuance of the fatwa to say [Umno was] kafir was under the context of the reaction towards what Umno had done at the time. Let’s just say perhaps at that time PAS was oppressed, mistreated, denied their rights, so you get what you get for what had happened,” Annuar told the Malay daily in the interview published today.
This was in response to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks last Thursday that PAS, especially its incumbent president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had labelled the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) government of the past of being a kafir administration for cooperating with infidels.
In his controversial Amanat Hadi then, the Marang MP also claimed those who opposed the Umno government would die as martyrs. Dr Mahathir was the BN PM from 1981 to 2003 before becoming the seventh prime minister after Pakatan Harapan won the 14th general election last year.
Annuar also said Umno will hold a closed-door meeting in commemoration of its 73rd anniversary this year, adding that its celebration this time around will be moderate.
The Keterah MP said there were two main items on its agenda for the meeting: amendments to the party’s constitution as well as its new cooperation with PAS.
“These agenda, however, will be done behind closed doors as we are still at the internal discussion stage and there’s nothing to be announced in the near future,” he said, adding that there will be buka puasa followed by tarawih prayers at night.
Annuar said four main scopes will be amended in the party constitution, which will be discussed in a special annual general meeting before the Umno General Assembly 2019, scheduled in October.
He said the four focus areas include improving party policies, empowering the Umno wings, expanding its influence, and returning the party policy to its original platform.
“This is not to say the past struggles in no longer relevant as it is still accepted by the people. But after seven decades going through the process, there would be new challenges that the party faces.
“Therefore it needs to enhance a new policy to place the party in line with current times and suited with the needs of the people, taking in the factor of race and religion,” he was quoted saying.