PETALING JAYA,Mar 16: Former Barisan Nasional secretary-general Annuar Musa believes it is PAS, and not Umno, which is at crossroads.
The Islamist party had to choose between siding with Umno – its partner in Muafakat Nasional – or continue its collaboration with PPBM, which now leads the Perikatan Nasional government.
“This is a strategic decision which puts PAS at crossroads,” he said in a Facebook posting last night together with a video clip of a media interview in which he touched on various issues, including Umno’s relationship with PAS and PPBM.
Annuar’s comments come in the wake of a statement by PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man that Umno and PPBM would resolve their dispute amicably.
“There is still light at the end of the tunnel,” Tuan Ibrahim told reporters when asked whether PAS was sweating over the spat between the two parties.
Relations between Umno and PPBM have deteriorated in recent months, culminating in a letter informing PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin that Umno would support his government only until the next general election.
In an interview with TV Pertiwi last night, Annuar also said it was a mistake to assume that PAS would side with Umno, as every political party was only interested in the best option for themselves.
“They won’t do anything if it is going to cost them for defending another party. So we shouldn’t entertain the theory that Umno and PAS would leave Perikatan Nasional,” he said, adding it won’t happen.
He also said Umno’s decision to withdraw cooperation with PPBM at the next general election was not set in stone.
“For me it is not final. There are no certainties in politics,” he said, adding that Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob had recently hinted that it was not impossible for changes to be made to the party’s stance after its annual meeting at the end of the month.
Annuar said there were other factors that could see Umno rescind its decision on not working with PPBM.
Such factors included the date of the 15th general election and who was leading the party at that particular time.
Annuar said he was surprised that Umno had decided on non-cooperation despite not knowing when the elections would be called.
He had previously said the decision was “premature” and put the party at a disadvantage. “But the letter shows there is a conflict,” he said, referring to the letter sent to PPBM in which Umno said it would not cooperate with PPBM at the general election and that the party would only work with the government until Parliament was dissolved.
“On one hand we say we remain with the government, which means there is some sort of unity, camaraderie and working together. Yet at the same time, we say such things will come to a halt at the elections. This is a dilemma that makes the members uncertain (of the party’s direction),” he said.