KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Despite repeated snubs from Umno, PAS has yet to give up on getting its political rival to join forces with it and fellow Perikatan Nasional (PN) partner Bersatu, to form a mammoth Malay-Muslim coalition.

PAS vice-president Datuk Idris Ahmad denied that his party is “desperate” to return to holding federal power as portrayed by its political enemies, and only wants to unite the country’s three main Malay Muslim parties so they can collectively protect and uphold their community’s rights, Utusan Malaysia reported today.

“We are not pushing anyone, we are now the Opposition and what’s important is the ummah,” he told the Malay newspaper in an interview, using the Arabic word to refer to the Muslim fraternity.

Instead, he claimed that it is Umno that is unused to being in the Opposition for the 22 months after Election 2018 when Pakatan Harapan (PH) took Putrajaya, ending the Barisan Nasional coalition’s six-decade grip on Malaysia.

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Idris insisted that PAS has always been consistent on the need for all Malay Muslim political parties to be united for their sake of the demographic group they represent.

He claimed the emergence of more Malay Muslim groups after GE14 in 2018 proved his point of a division within their ranks and the need for the community to stand as one.

“PAS is consistent in its stance on uniting the ummah amongst the Malays.

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“If we look at history, Umno did things to us but we never brought it up because we want to be friends, if we bring those matters up then we won’t be friends.

“That’s why we are opening a new book,” he told the newspaper.

PAS formed in the 1950s, after its leader split from the original Umno.

Idris also said Umno should be thankful to Bersatu, another political party that spun off from Umno in September 2016 after its president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was sacked for criticising the latter party’s then leader and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Bersatu later became a component party of the PH coalition that won GE14, until February 2020 when a number of its top leaders and MPs barring chairman Dr Mahathir, switched sides and joined up with Umno and PAS, causing the collapse of the second Mahathir administration.

Muhyiddin then became prime minister in March 2020, but only for 18 months.

“By right, Umno should thank Bersatu because Bersatu is a friend from your own party. If we can accept Bersatu, why can’t you?” Idris posed in the interview.

He said PAS had invited Umno to sit in the Muhyiddin Cabinet, but claimed Umno leaders “caused chaos” to oust Muhyiddin so its own party man Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob could be the next prime minister.

He insisted that PAS held no hard feelings despite that, adding that it’s continued pursuit of Umno is for the sake of Malaysia’s Malay Muslims, which is also the largest demographic group in the country.

Idris said many of the current leaders in all three political parties PAS, Umno and Bersatu, are now ageing, citing himself as an example.

“I am already 60 years old and what we want is to leave behind a good legacy and what we fought for, only this is what we want,” he told the newspaper.