Malaysia's PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang buckles down to mend Umno, Bersatu ties

KLANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, the president of Malaysia’s Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), is buckling down to mend the ties between its two feuding ruling coalition allies, Umno and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

According to a source linked to the parties, Umno’s grassroots leaders and members want the party’s leadership to sever ties with Bersatu.

“They don’t see the need to continue with the relationship with Bersatu anymore since the party and Umno cannot see eye to eye on many things,” said the source.

The source added that the Umno leadership had voiced its possible political annulment plans with Bersatu to the PAS leadership, but Mr Abdul Hadi wants both parties to stick together.

“But Abdul Hadi does not want this to happen as he feels it is important for all Malay-based parties to stay united,” said the source.

He added that Mr Abdul Hadi was currently mediating a possible truce between Umno and Bersatu so that both parties will continue with their political collaboration.

Meanwhile, another source from Umno said many division chiefs had voiced their discontentment about working together with Bersatu.

“Umno is a democratic party and all division leaders, as well as members, are free to voice their opinions.

“But at the end of the day, it’s the party’s supreme council that will determine and decide whether it is feasible for Umno to remain in collaboration with Bersatu,” he added.

A third source linked to Umno said some of the party leaders were not in sync with one another because they did not agree with some current political manoeuvring.

“There is a big plan by one segment of Umno to bring back former leaders that other party members regard as being tainted.

“So, because of this, they are backing Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who incidentally happens to be Bersatu president,” said the source.

PAS, Umno and Bersatu had banded together to form, along with a few other parties, governing coalition Perikatan Nasional (PN) after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government in March last year.

But tensions have boiled over in recent months after Umno and Bersatu clashed on multiple issues, including the share of Cabinet positions and the prosecution of Umno leaders.

Former premier Najib Razak was sentenced to 12 years in prison in July last year in a case linked to scandal-tainted 1MDB, and last month Umno’s former treasurer-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was found guilty in a corruption case. Several other Umno MPs, including Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, are also fighting corruption charges.

On Tuesday, Barisan Nasional, an alliance led by Umno, sacked its secretary-general Annuar Musa, who had repeatedly asked Umno to forge closer ties with the PN government.

Mr Annuar was seen as championing Umno’s cooperation with the PN government, often butting heads with Zahid who had said that Umno needs to go its separate way.

Umno’s highest decision-making council, the supreme council, will meet on Wednesday (June 6) to decide on whether to remain in PN and continue to work with Bersatu, media reports say.

Umno and Bersatu had also clashed over who would be Sabah’s chief minister following state elections in September last year, with a Bersatu chieftain later appointed to the post.

Last month, Umno worked with opposition parties in Perak to oust the state’s menteri besar who was from Bersatu. An Umno chieftain is now the Perak menteri besar.

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