KUALA LUMPUR: PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang denied yesterday that the Islamist party was planning to form a unity government in Selangor with Umno. In a brief statement, Hadi’s political secretary Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said a recent meeting between Hadi and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali was centred on Azmin’s nomination by PAS as a candidate for the Selangor menteri besar’s post during the recent PAS central committee meeting.
“Azmin had wanted to express his gratitude to Hadi that PAS had nominated him for the post, which he later declined. “There was no talk about forming a unity government as claimed [by The Malaysian Insider],” he said in the statement.
Ahmad Samsuri said Hadi dismissed The Malaysian Insider’s report “Hadi ‘admits offering Azmin MB post’ in unity government with Umno”. He said he was present during the meeting and said that aside from Azmin offering his gratitude, both leaders also exchanged views on ways to strengthen the Pakatan Rakyat coalition. He said the party regretted that the report was written to confuse the people and sought an apology from the news portal.
The Malaysian Insider, however, stands by its report as it has corroborated information for the article from several central committee members present at the meeting. In its report, The Malaysian Insider quoted a PAS central committee member as saying that Hadi had told a stunned central committee meeting on Monday that he had made the offer to Azmin. The meeting was told that Azmin had turned down the offer.
The PAS central committee member, who attended the meeting, said Hadi confirmed this when Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin asked him about it, which led to a heated exchange between the two. The central committee member told The Malaysian Insider that Hadi confirmed he offered the menteri besar’s position to Azmin in order to form a pact between PAS assemblymen, Umno and embattled MB Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
Azmin, when met by reporters at the recent PKR Congress, had admitted that he had a discussion with the PAS president a couple of days before that. (It was later confirmed to be Aug 20). One of the things they had talked about, Azmin said, was about the Pengkalan Kubor by-election.
The Malaysian Insider had reported that in the central committee meeting on Monday, Hadi had insisted that Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail be removed as a candidate for the MB’s post, as she is a woman and is also not qualified.
Hadi’s stand on Monday contradicted his earlier statement when he himself had suggested Dr Wan Azizah and Azmin to be presented to the Sultan of Selangor as candidates for the MB’s post. Azmin, however, was rejected by the 13 PAS assemblymen at the meeting on Monday.
Selangor PAS representatives Saari Sungib (Hulu Klang) and Hasnul Baharudin (Morib) had broken away from the party’s consensus to declare their support for Dr Wan Azizah in order to save the Pakatan Rakyat state government.
After the PAS central committee meeting on Monday, Mustafa told a press conference that PAS had decided to leave it to the wisdom of the Sultan of Selangor to determine who should be appointed Selangor MB. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 27, 2014.