KUALA LUMPUR: In an extraordinary show of unity, the alternative coalition Pakatan Rakyat Monday unanimously rejected the idea of forming a unity government with Umno or Barisan Nasional thus averting its first crisis.
The PKR, DAP and PAS leaders of the oppositon coalition reiterated their commitment to the opposition coalition with the aim of forming the federal government someday.
Following a two-hour meeting among the PR leaders on the issue on the side lines of current sitting of the Dewan Rakyat in the Parliament building, the location issued a joint statement signed by PKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim, DAP's parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
"The Pakatan council of leaders has reaffirmed its rejection of the idea of forming a unity government with Umno/BN which is clearly a malicious and desperate attempt to compromise the integrity of the increasingly popular Pakatan Rakyat," the statement said.
Besides the three main leaders, others present at the meeting were PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, her deputy Syed Husin Ali, vice-presidents Azmin Ali and R Sivarasa, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, DAP Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali, vice-president Mahfuz Omar and central committee member and Bukit Gantang MP Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.
The crisis was precipitated by PAS president Haji Hadi Awang and his deputy Nasharuddin Mat Isa when they mooted the unity talks with Umno at the party’s recent general assembly. This had not only riled many party members especially party spiritual leader, Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, but also DAP and PKR, their partners in the coalition.
Things took a turn for the worse when Nik Aziz lost his cool and ticked off Nasharuddin telling him to quit PAS and join Umno if he insisted on holding unity talks with Umno.
However, at today’s press conference PAS president Abdul Hadi assured that differences between party spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa "will be resolved tonight" alluding to the party’s central committee meeting scheduled for tonight.
Commenting on Pakatan's decision, Lim said the opposition coalition has come together to resolve its first crisis.
"This statement shows that we are committed to move forward. It shows that we are different from BN," he added.
It is understood that Anwar has been having several discussions with the various parties that led to resolving the crisis.
Other leaders in Pakatan had refrained from attacking Hadi but it was Hadi himself who saved the day by making a turnaround in hisposition by saying the unity government idea was ill-conceived – even by Umno themselves – and that PAS was only willing to “engage” Umno/BN on specific issues and not on Malay and Islamic unity as reported in the past.