CNA – Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (CNA, pic below) on Sunday denied having any knowledge about claims that Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) was invited to join the unity government.
According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), Ahmad Zahid – who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman – said that as far as he was concerned, no one would ever dream of making such an offer.
“This is beyond my knowledge. However, I think it is best for them (PAS) to keep their friendship with Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia). Please stop being so conceited,” he was quoted as saying by FMT.
PAS and Bersatu are component parties of the opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition. Ahmad Zahid was asked by reporters to comment on a claim by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang that certain individuals had approached him about joining the unity government, according to FMT.
On Saturday, Abdul Hadi reportedly said that he was contacted by individuals who wanted to meet him with an offer for PAS to join the unity government, according to the New Straits Times (NST).
He also noted that the offer came about after Pakatan Harapan (PH), especially Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), realised that their position is unstable as they do not have as many Malay seats as PAS.
“People have contacted me. Several individuals wanted to meet me with offers for PAS to join the government because PAS has the most seats, 43. PKR only has 30 seats, with only 19 of them Malays seats, while DAP (Democratic Action Party) has three Malay seats.
“The government is dominated by non-Malays,” he was quoted as saying by NST. PKR and DAP are component parties of PH.
Abdul Hadi reportedly added: “They wanted to invite PAS but with PAS taking the back seat. By right, when forming a government, those with the most seats should lead.”
Following Abdul Hadi’s claim, PKR Deputy President Rafizi Ramli said on Sunday that he had never been made aware of such an invitation despite being closely involved in the formation of the unity government.
“I do not know what timeline the claims are referring to, but since the first day I was involved in the formation of the unity government up until now, I have never heard of such a thing,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
The 15th General Elections in November last year saw the formation of the current unity government comprising PH and the previous ruling coalition BN.
Other parties and coalitions that currently back the unity government include Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Parti Warisan (Warisan).