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PUTRAJAYA, Aug 26 — PAS said other parties in the Gagasan Sejahtera pact have welcomed the Islamist party’s alliance with Umno.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the decision was made following the conclusion of the 14th general election and the need for “unity of the ummah”.
“PAS will represent Gagasan Sejahtera, similar to how Umno represents the existing Barisan Nasional coalition.
“We have agreed to accept the political cooperation between PAS and Umno on the basis of ‘Taawun Siyasi’ (political cooperation for the benefit of Islam),” he said during a press conference at the Gagasan Sejahtera supreme council meeting at Zenith Putrajaya here.
During the meeting, Abdul Hadi said the coalition has also agreed to focus its efforts on attracting support from youth and the general public for the vision championed by Gagasan Sejahtera.
“We have also decided to focus on the agenda to save our multicultural society and solve the people’s woes through the involvement of all,” he said.
Gagasan Sejahtera comprises PAS, Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan) and Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa).
In a joint press conference last week, Malaysia’s two biggest Malay-based parties Umno and PAS said they will sign a Unity and Understanding Charter during the Muslim Unity Gathering to be held at the Putra World Trade Centre on September 14.
Asked to comment on the charter’s status, Abdul Hadi confirmed that it has been drafted and joked that a proper name will be given once a child has been “born”.
Ikatan president Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said his was a multiracial party within the coalition, which meant that PAS accepted the concept of “Bangsa Malaysia” and that the political parties would be able to safeguard the interest of all Malaysians.
Abdul Hadi also dismissed claims that Ikatan was uncomfortable working with Umno, explaining that negotiations were done in the name of Gagasan Sejahtera that included Ikatan.
The two Malay-Muslim parties had once been arch-enemies but set aside their differences after Pakatan Harapan’s stunning victory in the general election last year ended the BN coalition’s six-decade rule.
Both parties formalised their political cooperation on March 5 this year.
The new Umno-PAS alliance is banking on winning back rural voters who are majority Malay and Muslim to counter the PH coalition at the 15th general election due by 2023.