PETALING JAYA: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang should come clean on his “blessings” to Nik Abduh Nik Aziz to deny it was the latter’s voice in an audio recording admitting PAS had received money from Umno.
Otherwise, political analyst Jeniri Amir said, Hadi would face a backlash from PAS members unhappy with his leadership.
He said although the party was not headed for a split between those who supported Hadi and those who did not, if the truth was not revealed immediately, the party might suffer a trust deficit with the public.
“The ball is now at the party president’s court to tell the truth”, he said, after the Bachok MP and son of the respected late PAS leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who died in 2015, admitted that Hadi had given his “blessings” to him to deny that it was his voice on the recording saying that the party had received RM2 million from Umno.
Nik Abduh, in April last year, denied he was the person in the recording and claimed the audio was fabricated to tarnish his image. He has since admitted it is his voice on the recording.
The audio recording is seen as a key piece of evidence in allegations that PAS received millions from Umno before the 14the general election.
Nik Abduh had said several PAS leaders had urged him to deny the matter as the general election was near and Pakatan Harapan (PH) would use the issue to attack PAS.
On Feb 12, Nik Abduh finally admitted that he was the person in the audio recording critics claim is proof that the party did receive money from Umno.
“If Hadi wants to be seen as a leader, he should correct the wrong. Hadi cannot pretend, and sweep it under the carpet. He won’t be able to escape,” Jeneri told FMT.
He said the only way to mitigate the issue was by dealing with it “head on” and to curb any suspicions about the party. He said the party should also explain the reason for requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad twice.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Mahathir had received a courtesy visit from Hadi at the Albukhary Foundation office in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 15. This is the second time they have met, reportedly at the request of Hadi.
Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) political analyst Azmi Hassan agreed that PAS was not heading for a split over the incident as the majority of the members believed that the party leaders were innocent.
He told FMT that there were different versions of the alleged RM90 million PAS received from Umno, and due to that, there was confusion over the issue.
“But overall members believe PH is using this issue to bring down the party’s image. So, despite this Hadi is still able to control the party,” he added.
The man in the audio recording had discussed receiving RM2 million from Umno, which Sarawak Report (SR) editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown produced as evidence to back her allegation that PAS took RM90 million from then Umno president Najib Razak.
The issue came up again after PAS unexpectedly announced that Hadi had settled his defamation suit against SR and Rewcastle-Brown out of court, with no order to costs, and with both bound to confidentiality.