Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Talks ‘aimed at hurting Pakatan’ - The Star


The top level Umno-PAS dialogues should cease immediately because Umno is only interested in getting the numbers to weaken the opposition pact.

Selangor PAS deputy commissioner II Khalid Abd Samad said he agreed with party spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat that the dialogues should be terminated at once.

“All Umno wants is the numbers to significantly weaken Pakatan Rakyat. It wants power. It does not have Malay unity or Islam at heart. It is just using excuses,” said the Shah Alam MP.

Khalid made up his mind after attending the first Umno-PAS dialogue initiated by Umno, which wanted to talk about Malay unity and Islam.

It was on March 10 or 11, fresh from the March 8 general election. On Umno’s side were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

From PAS were deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa, Terengganu commissioner Datuk Mustapha Ali and Khalid.

“What they were interested in was to team up and form the Selangor Government. They were not interested in solving problems, only their political survival. Since there is no sincerity from them, there is no point talking,” said Khalid.

Khalid did not attend the subsequent two talks.

His elder brother Datuk Shahrir Samad, an Umno supreme council member, holds a different opinion.

He believes the series of dialogues concentrated on “what to do with problems faced by the country,” not so much on a merger of the two parties.

“Both parties, I believe, wanted to move on after the general election. They accepted the election result and wanted to move forward. Hence, they are talking,” said Shahrir, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister.

He doubted the talks centred on mergers because such a move was extremely political and would stir up feelings among the grassroots.

Asked then why Umno did not initiate talks with PKR, Shahrir replied: “They are more interested in forming the government.”

As for his brother’s opinion on the merger, Shahrir said they both had different political approaches, but at the end of the day, they were still brothers, a sentiment shared by Khalid.

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