KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Islamist PAS stands to gain many “benefits” if it stands by its Muafakat Nasional (MN) pact with Umno, according to Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
The Umno deputy president told Sinar Harian in an interview published today that he hopes PAS will side with his party instead of the Bersatu-led Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, of which the Islamist party is a component if push comes to shove in the next general election.
“The benefits of being with Umno are huge. We won by-elections even when we were in the Opposition, we won in style in Tanjung Piai, we won in Kimanis, we won them all.
“Many people say Umno and BN will be weak without Perikatan Nasional, but actually no. If we were weak, we wouldn’t have won so many seats in the by-elections. That’s my view,” he was quoted saying.
Mohamad, known as Tok Mat among party members, said that seat negotiations with PAS is ongoing, though there they have “locked” onto a general agreement that seats won by their respective parties should be maintained by the same party for GE15.
“The first phase, whoever won seats in GE14 will keep it. Umno has 55 seats, PAS 18,” he told Sinar Harian.
“The second phase, those who bagged the second most votes in GE14, we will consider. So what I'm doing here is a formula — second phase is still in discussion — and then third, fourth and fifth.
“There are a lot of seats, there is nothing to worry about,” he was quoted as saying.
Mohamad was also asked to comment on a possible head-on collision between Umno and PAS in the peninsular east coast state of Terengganu, currently held by the Islamist party. However, he adopted a diplomatic stance.
“Even if after negotiations we still cannot find a solution, we will find other ways.
“There is no one size fits all,” he was quoted as saying.
He pointed out that PAS did not hold much political clout in the peninsular west coast and appeared open to seat exchanges with his party for those in Terengganu.
“I feel that with Terengganu we can negotiate.
“But if we can't come to an agreement, then we will have to face friendly fires — in Kelantan, Terengganu and a bit of Kedah — these states already practice a two-party system," he said assuring that this system does not hurt anyone.
“That is why Terengganu is akin to a swing state, like in the US between the Democrats and the Republic.
“If the voters are bored with the Republicans they will choose the Democrats. So it's not a question of who will lose out.
“Because in Terengganu and Kelantan, 95 per cent of voters are Malays. The majority in Kedah as well.
“So we need to use a formula that is suitable for a particular area or state,” he said.
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