Dr Mahathir Mohamad hopes to help PAS overcome its distaste of the DAP, reminding the Islamic party it had previously made electoral gains because of Chinese votes.
Speaking at a forum here today, Dr Mahathir said: “I hope to be able to talk with PAS to explain that if they don’t want to be in a coalition with us, they in fact will be helping the government because they are going to lose many seats.”
Dr Mahathir is chairman of the new Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, which seeks to build a united opposition front against the Barisan Nasional.
He said the opposition would lose the next general election if the Islamic party refuses to work together with other parties.
PAS has been at loggerheads with the DAP over plans to impose Islamic criminal penalties in Kelantan, which caused a breakup of the Pakatan Rakyat alliance. A new alliance called Pakatan Harapan was formed between PKR, DAP and the Amanah party, formed by breakaway PAS dissidents.
Responding to a question at the forum, Mahathir said that it was “very sad” that PAS refused to work with DAP. “PAS elected members increased by working with DAP because Chinese voters helped PAS to win in areas where there were quite big numbers of Chinese voters,” he said.
Asked how he could reconcile with PAS while being opposed to PAS’ plans on hudud, Dr Mahathir said the opposition parties should not focus on differences if they wished to oust BN.
“There are difference between us, but if we stress on differences, we can’t work together. “So we want to work to change the government that is very oppressive. It is not liberal. After that, we handle the problems together,” he said, according to Malaysiakini.
FMT Reporters Online