Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Pakatan leaders shoot down unity govt idea.

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang says Pas is willing to hold talks if Umno is sincere.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat pulled itself back from the brink of collapse yesterday by repudiating unity government talks with Umno and the Barisan Nasional.

"The Pakatan Rakyat council of leaders reaffirms our rejection of the idea of forming a unity government with Umno/Barisan Nasional," Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said after an hour-long meeting of the alliance's three parties in Parliament yesterday.

However, Anwar, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader, said in a joint statement that Pakatan agreed to an "open approach and is willing to hold discussions with the BN on issues of national interest".

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang said collaboration with the BN, which had been floated by senior Pas leaders, had sorely tested Pakatan.

"We have experienced our first crisis of confidence. But we have come together. This joint statement shows that we are committed to moving forward to show that we are different from BN."
Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang accused Umno of fomenting the impression that Pas was leaving Pakatan.

"This is a slander to get us to fight among ourselves."

Hadi, however, said Pas was willing to hold talks if Umno was "sincere".

Asked if the unity talks proposal from Pas had affected solidarity among the Pakatan parties, Anwar said: "When the issue arose, I called Hadi, who was overseas, and he was consistent in his stand that there were no plans for Pas to leave PR."

Anwar and Hadi denied there was a running dispute between Pas deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa and spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat over the proposed talks.

The top-level Pakatan meeting yesterday was brought about after Hadi and Nasharuddin backed discussions with Umno, which triggered unease among Pas, PKR and DAP allies.

Nik Aziz slammed Nasharuddin last week, asking him to quit the party and join Umno.

Pas leaders who attended the meeting yesterday included vice-presidents Salahuddin Ayub and Datuk Mahfuz Omar, secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali and central committee member Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

Nasharuddin was not present.

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