by Saadon Aksah
SHAH ALAM - PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has reached out to UMNO members and supporters to work together with PAS for the sake of Malay unity and to "save the country".
Abdul Hadi said PAS has worked with UMNO/BN in a coalition government after the 1969 general election but the experience has taught the party that the move by UMNO then was out of political expediency.
Addressing concerns on why the party did not form a coalition with UMNO to "safeguard Malay-Muslims" interests, Abdul Hadi put it to some 20,000 audience present at an event here whether PAS should do just that.
After his question was answered with a resounding "No", Abdul Hadi said promises of development alone were not enough if the country was "suffering from various diseases after 50 years (of independence)".
"Tonight I want to say that UMNO (members and supporters) should work with us but no longer through the Barisan Nasional Front but through an alliance to save the country," he said.
"Umno and BN (members and supporters) should not be arrogant (to discount working together with PAS)," Abdul Hadi said in a post-election speech interspersed with raucous applause from those present.
His remark came a day before the opposition party of PAS, Parti Keadilan Rakyat(PKR) and DAP announced their intention to "consolidate the cooperation" under the name "PAKATAN RAKYAT"
The event held at a stadium filled to a capacity here was also attended by deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and DAP central working committee member Ronnie Liu. Abdul Hadi also led a congregation for a special prayer before the speech.
Brave leadership that institute reforms
In his speech Abdul Hadi spelled out key agenda for reforms that need to be embarked by the country on its road to recovery.
He said unjust and discriminatory laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows for detention without trial, Universities and Universities Colleges Act that restrict academic freedom and the Official Secret Act which made government business opaque need to either be amended or abolished completely.
He said an immediate electoral reforms need to be undertaken, in particular relating to the task and operations of the Election Commission.
Abdul Hadi also said the Anti Corruption Agency need to be truly independent so that it can be effective in fighting graft.
He also reminded the need for the public faith to be restored in the judiciary and to ensure that it’s truly independent.
He said if Barisan Nasional component parties would not be brave enough to embark on this reform agenda then the Pakatan Rakyat government at the state level would pave the way forward.
"The number of seats (garnered by each party) was not an important factor. What is important, is for the leadership (of any party) to be brave enough to institute fair and just reform," he said.
He was also heartened by the voters decision to support parties across racial divide."I was heartened that the Malay could vote for the DAP while the Chinese could vote for PAS. This is a transformation," he said.-ES