Umno-PAS pact won’t sideline non-Muslims, Tok Mat assures

Acting Umno president Mohamad Hasan says the party does not want society to be divided.

KUALA LUMPUR: Acting Umno president Mohamad Hasan today played down fears among non-Malays arising from the party’s ties with PAS.

Mohamad said Umno and PAS were merely coming together on the same platform in the interest of uniting the ummah, but would not merge.

“Umno will still be Umno. There is nothing tying both parties together. There is no one imposing values. This is cooperation among two parties.

“What is important is that the different communities in Malaysia still feel comfortable. I wish to explain and stress here that, the agenda to unite the ummah is to find benefits and does not sideline anybody, especially non-Muslims.

“What we are doing here is a strategy for us to work together, to enable both parties to operate and formulate strategies in facing the upcoming general election,” he said at a press conference after chairing an Umno meeting at its headquarters here today.

Two days ago, Mohamad had announced Umno’s formal union with PAS at the parliamentary and by-election levels, a decision which was taken after scrutinising the direction of both parties and the local political scenario.

“We do not have time to fight each other. We have a common enemy. Umno and PAS are friends. Pakatan Harapan (PH) is the government we are currently focusing on.

“What is important, is that we do not want society to be divided. We want to practise mature politics and cooperate well,” he said.

Mohamad said at the Barisan Nasional (BN) meeting tomorrow, he would present what Umno had discussed today.

He said that if the cooperation could be accepted by BN partners, it would no longer be Umno and PAS, but BN, PAS and other partners.

“We do things accordingly. This is one of the strategies to empower the party. Since we are no longer the government, all of us have to empower our respective parties.

“Our cooperation with PAS is a strategic one, in the interest of uniting the ummah. But we do not sideline our partners,” he said.

Mohamad said MIC had already openly stated they had no objection to Umno’s cooperation with PAS, and he believed this was also the case with MCA.

The BN deputy chairman was also confident that the alliance between Umno and PAS would not cause MIC and MCA to leave BN.

“I do not think so. I do not think MIC and MCA want to leave BN. That is what I can sense from what I have been reading. As a matter of fact, they are concerned. They love BN more. They want to make sure BN’s image is protected,” he said.

At the same press conference, Mohamad also announced that Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaacob would take over as the new opposition leader from Ahmad Zahid Hamidi when Parliament sits on Monday.

“We chose Ismail Sabri as the new opposition leader by virtue of his seniority. As for the chief whip position, this responsibility will be taken over by Umno vice-president Mahdzir Khalid,” he added.