KUALA LUMPUR: Umno will never cooperate with PAS in the next general election as the country cannot be governed by one community, an Umno minister said in an exclusive interview in The Sunday Star today.
Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz ruled out an Umno-PAS coalition government in the future because Umno loyalists and those at the grassroots level would be furious.
“It will never work. We have always been taught that this country cannot be governed by one community. I will never agree to a coalition with them. PAS are our rivals and our political foes,” Nazri told The Sunday Star.
Nazri also pointed out that PAS was present in the same constituencies that Umno was contesting in, which were the conservative Malay, Muslim rural areas.
And this, he said, was simply because both parties needed to improve on certain Islamic needs like perpaduan ummah (Muslim unity).
“But we are not going to co-operate with PAS in the general election. We have had the experience of 1978.
“We gave the Rural Development Ministry to PAS and as a result of that, we saw their influence grow in the Felda schemes. So to me, cooperating for the election is a ‘No No’.
“But in the interest of Islam, we will pick and choose. If it fits with our programme, we will cooperate with them. We can work together on common issues.”
The Sunday Star also quoted Nazri as denying that Umno president Najib Razak was trying to curry favour with PAS by agreeing to its president Hadi Awang’s motion in parliament to amend the Shariah Law (RUU 355) to increase penalties for shariah offences.
That, Nazri explained, was debated in the Kelantan state assembly and received the consent of the Sultan.
“So all we are doing is to facilitate (it),” Nazri told The Sunday Star.
Nazri also said PAS has failed with their Islamic programme and Islamic state in Kelantan, adding that the situation there was serious.
“That is why they need to amend RUU 355 to allow them to impose sentences of up to 100 times (for) whipping, 30 years’ jail and a RM100,000 fine because the present limits are not good enough for Kelantan.
“If the situation is serious in Kelantan, we need to help them because they have failed in their Islamic programme. This is what they want,” Nazri added. – FMT