Islamist party PAS was able to spread its influence beyond traditional strongholds due to its previous partnership with DAP, asserted Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The former deputy prime minister, who is trying to sue for peace between the two warring parties, said it was imperative for both PAS and DAP to be part of any opposition coalition that intends to take on Barisan Nasional (BN).
“What has happened with PAS before is they won not because of the Malay vote entirely, they won because they collaborated with DAP before.
“The issue, of course, is how do you engage with them, vis-a-vis not just the problems intra-PAS but between PAS and the other parties as well, in particular Amanah and DAP,” he said in an interview with the Straits Times (ST).
Muhyiddin, who was sacked as Umno deputy president earlier this year, is the president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the splinter party that is seeking to unite the country’s fractured opposition.
In the interview with the ST, Muhyiddin stressed that any effort without PAS would result in the opposition parties fighting amongst themselves rather than against BN.
Muhyiddin, whom PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad previously declared unilaterally to be the Opposition’s pick for prime minister, has said that he was up to the task of bringing PAS and DAP together, though subsequent remarks by leaders of both parties suggest this was easier said than done.
But the former Umno president, who continues to be dogged by his Malay Ultra persona, believes he commands enough clout with PAS to ensure that the Opposition will be united against BN by the next general election.
“The bigger picture is the need for us to work together to have enough seats to form the next government,” he was quoted as saying.
Relations between PAS and DAP have deteriorated to the extent that few expect the two can co-exist under the same umbrella.
Their diametrically opposed ideologies — one is secular while the other is Islamist — have resulted in differences that were hardened by hostile exchanges over, amongst others, PAS’s bid to introduce hudud or the Islamic penal code in Kelantan.
This clash led to the demise of Pakatan Rakyat, the pact that denied BN the popular vote victory in Election 2013, a development that allowed the ruling coalition to escape mostly unscathed despite being mired in arguably the most publicised controversies in its history.
PAS has expressed its willingness to cooperate with other opposition parties, with the caveat that any suitor must not have ties with DAP.
The Malay Mail Online