PUTRAJAYA, Sept 15 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he has been confounded by a charter signed between Islamist party PAS and its former rival Umno for political cooperation yesterday.
Speaking to the press at the Putrajaya Boat Race Championship, the former Umno president again brought up the fact that PAS leaders had labelled Umno members as “kafir”, or infidels, and have yet to rescind the decree.
“I cannot understand how Umno can work with PAS because Umno is ‘kafir’. How can they cooperate with PAS?” he asked.
Prior to the charter, both PAS and Umno decided to reconcile over the deadly Memali incident in Kedah in 1985, that was the result of a strained relationship between the two parties after the former declared the latter’s members as apostates and infidels.
In 1981, now party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had penned the “Amanat Hadi”, where he called Umno and Barisan Nasional supporters infidels and called for a “jihad” or holy war against them.
When asked whether to comment regarding the newly forged alliance’s insistence that their unity ploy has nothing to do with the Malay-Muslims, Dr Mahathir pointed out that the move has always only been about ethno-religious sentiments.
“It’s always about race and religion and all that. But what to do? It’s important. But if you are there to stir up racial feelings, I think it’s wrong,” he said.
Yesterday, PAS and Umno had officially ended years of rivalry and have joined forces to take on the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in the next general election.
One of their agreement is that Umno and PAS will not contest in the same seat.
Umno and Barisan Nasional were suffered a shocking defeat during the 14th general election, while PAS became worse off compared to when it had joined Pakatan Rakyat, which then became PH.