Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pas rejects Umno, commits to Pakatan Rakyat

Pas rejects any coalition with Umno, commits to Pakatan Rakyat

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Pas has rejected any coalition government with Umno or the Barisan Nasional at both state or federal level, party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said today, ending the controversial unity talks with its ideological nemesis that have rocked both the ruling and opposition coalitions.

"The issue of Umno's offer to Pas therefore does not arise," Abdul Hadi said after a rare joint meeting between Pas's central working committee and its highest decision-making body, the Majlis Syura Ulamak (religious scholars consultative council).

Pas has been embroiled with the secret meetings between its leaders including Abdul Hadi and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and Umno's offer to some state Pas leaders to form coalition state governments in Perak and Selangor — both now under the federal opposition's Pakatan Rakyat. Umno, however, has not invited Pas to join other Barisan Nasional state governments.

Abdul Hadi also reaffirmed the party's commitment to Pakatan Rakyat, the nascent coalition that groups the Islamist party with Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the Democratic Action Party that denied BN its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 222-seat Parliament with its 82 seats and unprecedented control of five states.

He said Pas was grateful to the non-Muslim community for supporting the party in the March 8 general election, adding it was prepared to meet political organisations and non-governmental organisations to discuss issues of mutual interest.

He urged Umno members to quit en masse and join the Pakatan Rakyat coalition members.

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