Tuesday, July 22, 2008

PAS ready to hold a fourth round of talks with PM - The Sun

Jul 22, 2008

THE PAS top leadership is ready to hold a fourth round of talks with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for cooperation that will lead to the implementation of a "Malay-centric" government, Nanyang Siang Pau reported today, quoting sources.

The report said Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) sources revealed that Umno is trying hard to talk PAS into cooperating with Umno, and has proposed the "Malay-centric" concept of cooperation.

However, the three rounds of muzakarah (discussions) so far had not produced results.
The sources said during the previous talks between the two parties, Umno's overtures included offering the deputy prime minister's post for PAS.

They said PKR leaders were aware of the Umno-PAS muzakarah but did not deem it an act of betrayal on the part of PAS.

"In a democratic system, political parties within and outside the government can talk about cooperation anytime," they said.

The sources also said the "secularists" within PAS feel that the party can work with Umno while the elders are against the idea.

It is learnt the two parties will hold their fourth muzakarah before Sept 16 and the meeting is crucial as the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR), has claimed that they would launch their bid for control of the federal government on the particular date.

Asked for his predictions of the outcome if PAS agrees to Umno's overtures, a senior PKR leader said: "At present, PAS is dependent on PR and not the other way around".
The PKR leader, who was not identified in the report, said a PAS move to the Barisan Nasional will not be a lost to PR as "half of the PAS MPs will hop over PKR then".
He did not believe PAS and Umno can work together and said that even if they do, Umno will put its allies in BN in an awkward position, forcing them to leave the coalition.

"If Umno and PAS reach an agreement (to form a Malay-centric government), do you think MCA and Gerakan will still remain in BN?" he asked.
He was confident that PR will still have enough MPs to take over the government even if PAS leaves PR.

Meanwhile, PKR publicity chief Tian Chua told Nanyang that the party has also been in contact with Umno's top leaders.

Commenting on the admissions by both Abdullah and PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang that the two parties had been holding talks, Tian Chua said: "Don't think that PKR is not (also talking to Umno)"

However, he declined to named the leaders involved in the talks and what was discussed.

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