PAS denies Mahathir’s claim of pulling support from Umno in Semenyih

17 Feb 2019 / 18:31 H.

PETALING JAYA: PAS has refuted a claim by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the Islamist party would stop cooperating with Umno in the Semenyih by-election, but the damage has already been done.

At a press conference in Kuala Terengganu today, PAS elections director Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar described the Prime Minister’s statement as “merely a psy-war”.

A video of the press conference has been uploaded on his Facebook page.

However, political scientist Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the prime minister’s statement — true or distorted — had already raised suspicions within Umno and PAS.

Ahmad Samsuri, who is the Terengganu Mentri Besar, also rebutted the claim that PAS had signed an agreement to not support Umno.

He clarified that the only deal it signed was a letter of support allowing Mahathir to strengthen Islam and to address the plight of the poor Malays.

He said the agreement on the Islamic agenda had nothing to do with the by-election. “It’s the same kind of cooperation we have given before. (For instance) we also supported the prime minister’s decision to not ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD),” he added.

His comments came in the wake of a photograph of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang sharing a warm handshake with Mahathir that has gone viral. The photograph was taken at a recent meeting between the two leaders.

Mahathir said on Saturday that PAS had made it known that it would not support Umno in Semenyih.

Apart from Hadi and Ahmad Samsuri, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan was also at the meeting. Takiyuddin represented Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yackop, who could not attend.

It is learned that the meeting was held to discuss administrative matters such as oil royalty payments to Kelantan and Terengganu. Both states are governed by PAS.

Sivamurugan said Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman, had successfully made a strategic move and some people would believe him.

About 70% of the electorate in Semenyih are Malays. PPBM is fielding 30-year-old Muhammad Aiman Zailani. He is treasurer of the party’s Hulu Langat division.

He is up against Zakaria Hanafi from Barisan Nasional, Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul from PSM and Kuan Chee Heng, an independent candidate.

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