KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Umno vice president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin has hit back at PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang for suggesting that the Johor state elections was triggered by Umno’s “court cluster”.

The “court cluster” refers to a group of Umno leaders who are either on trial or have been convicted over charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), abuse of power and money laundering.

Khaled denied that the state elections had anything to do with some allegations that Umno leaders are trying to get out of the court charges.

“We acknowledge that there are some people on trial. But we agree that their issues should be left to the justice system. That is the (stand) that Umno, BN and myself have taken all this while,” he said.

Khaled instead said that the Johor state election was necessary to determine a strong leadership.

“You can stop pretending. Accept the fact that they were holding on with just a one seat majority and it is a precarious situation that is unpredictable, he said.

Khaled, a member of the Umno supreme council, said the only way to get a stable government with a convincing mandate is through an election.

“We cannot continue with a government formed by political chessplay that has simultaneously denied the people’s mandate,” he said, adding that PAS and Hadi may not agree to that approach.

Khaled also took offence to Hadi’s claim that PAS and Perikatan Nasional ‘s diversity agenda was the best choice whereas BN was no longer relevant.

“I cannot accept this logic that PN and Muafakat Nasional is the diversity agenda and BN with its multi racial parties is not, and is not irrelevant,” he said.

He said that if they were truly diverse, they should not forget to invite Amanah and DAP into their fold.

“Then they will really be diverse,” he said.

Khaled also said they will not be working with PAS irregardless of how “strong” the party portrays itself to be.

“I guarantee that Umno — BN will not try to ride on Pas’s power. At the same time, don’t take offense if we don’t want to work with Pas,” he said.