KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Umno’s home at the Putra World Trade Centre here was filled this morning by members of the Malay nationalist party and those of PAS, all jostling to view the signing of an unprecedented charter for an alliance between the two former rivals.
The occasion had required the two natural rivals to set aside decades of enmity born of distrust and betrayal, with PAS going so far as to forgive Umno for the 1985 Memali Incident that had once been considered an eternal barrier between the two.
Dressed in the white that is common among both parties, thousands of Umno and PAS members sat in every available corner of the Umno bastion, creating a sea of people that spilled beyond the confines of the PWTC.
The situation was mirrored on the roads outside that were jammed with cars, motorcycles and buses, many of which carried those who will attend the Himpunan Penyatuan Ummah (Muslim Unity Rally) where the historic union will be formalised.
Some of the PAS supporters had spent the night at PWTC as they had travelled from out of the state to witness the historic event.
Muhammad Ashraff, 23, from Kubang Kerian said it was a very tiring day but it was worth to be part of the event as he would witness the beginning of a new struggle in the Opposition.
“If it’s not us to uphold the position of Islam in the country, then who else will?
“Islam has numerously been undermined by other races but the government has not done much about it,” he said.
His wife Noor Hasliza Shaari, 20, said she had followed her husband as she would support her husband in his political beliefs as it is a struggle for the afterlife.
Meanwhile, an Umno supporter, who only wants to be known as Ramli, said he was surprised by the number of turnout at the event as he has been actively attending Umno General Assemblies the last five years.
“This is definitely the biggest turnout I have witnessed. It is very exciting,” he said.
The estimated turnout at the rally was over 20,000.