World

Malaysia's PAS to sever ties with PKR

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) says Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) opposition to its Islamic agenda behind split

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's main Islamist party, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), announced yesterday it would sever ties with former opposition ally Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the party led by Anwar Ibrahim.

PAS Syura (consultative) Council secretary Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh told the media that the decision was based on PKR's opposition to PAS' Islamic agenda, including the latter's drive to amend Malaysia's Syariah law, reported The Star online.

"Firstly, it is because PKR has not supported and instead opposed PAS' Islamic agenda such as RUU355," Mr Zawawi was quoted as saying, referring to the parliamentary Bill submitted by PAS.

"Secondly, PKR has gone against the spirit of political cooperation by attacking the leadership and making false accusations against PAS, in turn tainting the party's image.

"Thirdly, it has betrayed the political relationship with PAS by working with others who want to topple the (PAS-led) Kelantan government and went against PAS during the by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar."

Mr Zawawi later told reporters that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang is ready to meet PKR leaders if the latter wants to maintain a relationship.

ISSUES

He added that any political decisions made by the party, including issues on the administration of the Selangor state government, will be handed over to the PAS central committee.

After Malaysia's most successful opposition coalition collapsed in 2015, PAS and PKR continued to maintain a working relationship in Selangor.

PAS jointly runs Malaysia's richest state alongside PKR and its other former ally, the Chinese-led Democratic Action Party (DAP). But PAS did not join the new alliance, Pakatan Harapan, comprising PKR, DAP, Parti Amanah Negara and former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

... PKR has gone against the spirit of political cooperation by attacking the leadership and making false accusations against PAS, in turn tainting the party's image. PAS Syura Council secretary Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh

Relations soured further in the past year, escalating into a war of words between PAS and PKR leaders. PAS members urged their leaders to cut ties with PKR.

But the repercussions of such a move may prove detrimental - ending political ties with PKR means PAS leaders will have to quit their roles in the Selangor state government.

Putting off the decision would allow PAS to keep its options open over who it wants to join forces with.

PAS, with its ambitious goal of winning 40 parliamentary seats and five states, appears confident it can negotiate power-sharing, should any one bloc fail to gain a majority at the next election, expected to be called this year.

malaysiapoliticsPARTI ISLAM SEMALAYSIA (PAS)