Hornbill Unleashed

December 10, 2013

Hamas leader meets Najib, Anwar to take a second crack at national reconciliation

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Anwar (left) meeting Meshaal at the office of the Palestinian Cultural Organisation in Kuala Lumpur on December 5. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 9, 2013.Amin Iskandar

Anwar (left) meeting Meshaal at the office of the Palestinian Cultural Organisation in Kuala Lumpur on December 5. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 9, 2013.On the sidelines of last week’s Umno general assembly, a senior Palestinian leader got Umno and Parti Keadilan Rakyat to meet secretly to revive reconciliation talks that started after the 13th General Election, we has learnt.

It was the second reconciliation talks after the May 5 polls since former Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla, who are close to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, acted as an intermediary between both leaders.

A senior PKR leader told The Malaysian Insider that this time, that role was taken over by leader of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, who was in Kuala Lumpur to attend the 2013 Umno International Forum.

“Khaled met Najib and Anwar separately. After his meeting with Anwar, Khaled had dinner with Najib before returning home,” said the senior PKR leader.

The source, who also spoke to Meshaal, said the Hamas leader advised both Najib and Anwar that if they were indeed serious about reconciliation, they should forget past wrongs.

Najib met the Hamas leader for the first time when he visited Gaza in January this year, while Anwar met Meshaal early last year in Doha, Qatar.

Meshaal was instrumental in negotiating peace talks between his party and Fatah, a faction of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organisation which retains control of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The senior PKR leader told The Malaysian Insider that he was contacted by a senior Umno official soon after Khaled left Kuala Lumpur.

“In my discussion with the senior Umno official, I told him that if Umno was serious in holding reconciliation talks, then all attacks against Anwar at the general assembly must stop,” said the PKR leader, referring to Najib’s attacks on Anwar during the Umno president’s policy speech.

“I received his assurance that there will be no more attacks against Anwar and they kept their word.”

The PKR official is confident that the reconciliation talks this time around will not fail, unlike the “unity government” talks between Umno and PAS during the administration of former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“During that time, the discussions were behind closed doors with both sides clamouring for positions in the Government.

“Anwar knows that PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat will not accept secret discussions and that is why he has, on two occasions, called for a dialogue with Barisan Nasional.”

The last time Anwar offered the olive branch to Umno was on Thursday night, hours after Najib had accused Anwar of lying for saying that thousands of Bangladeshis were brought in to vote at the last polls.

After attacking Anwar, Najib had said, “This party will never tire of offering the hand of unity to any political party”.

The Malaysian Insider was told that Anwar’s offer to Umno for a dialogue session was issued after both PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang gave their approval.

The statement on the offer to Umno was issued by Anwar in his capacity as opposition leader and not as PKR de facto leader, said opposition sources.

Despite the moves towards national reconciliation, Umno ended its annual general assembly on Saturday with a call to investigate PAS leaders who they said practised Shia Islam in the country.

While Shia Islam is not banned in the country, religious officials have stressed that it was deviant and should not be preached in the country, which is predominantly Sunni. This is despite both branches of Islam are recognised officially under the Amman message ratified among others by Malaysian leaders in 2004.

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