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Muhyiddin lashes out at Pakatan, PAS for spurning offer

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 24, 2009


By Wong Choon Mei  [Update3]

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who in his eagerness to form a unity government with Pakatan Rakyat, had offered to accept any conditions set by PAS, is now regretting his words.

A day after the Pakatan rejected the offer to form a unity government with his Umno-BN, Muhyiddin has lashed out at the coalition, warning it not to underestimate his government.

“We know our position, we know our strength and, of course, we know our weaknesses. We are still the majority government so they might have their own ideas but it is okay,” Muhyiddin told reporters on Tuesday.

Sadly, his words do not bode well for future co-operation between the rival coalitions.

Although the Pakatan had decided against a unity government, it nevertheless offered to begin discussion with the Umno-BN on how they could improve the country together.

Key issues included reviving the economy, raising the quality of education and restoring the independence of the judiciary.

Backfired badly

Indeed, with hindsight, the episode has backfired on the DPM and his boss Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The two had tried to shake the Pakatan trio of PKR, DAP and PAS with what they believed were savvy moves. But as the saying goes, what goes around comes around.

In fact, many still find Muhyiddin’s stunning offer incredible. After all, few matured people, much less the deputy president of Umno, would publicly throw caution to the winds as he did.

“We will not impose any conditions and we accept whatever terms set by PAS. As far as I am concerned, we have to be open,” the 62-year old Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by Bernama on Friday.

Nevertheless, he is now forced to echo Najib’s comments that the Pakatan’s rejection would not affect the Umno-BN’s governance of the country. Indeed, the coalition still has a sizeable majority in Parliament.

The DPM reiterated that Umno was already in the process of reforming itself.

“With the new prime minister and his 1 Malaysia, people first, performance now – all the various things that we have rolled out for the purposes of economic recovery and social justice, I think people will see that we are a serious government,” he said.

Tried to slip in a racist pact just to cling to power

Muhyiddin was also confident Umno would be able to regain lost ground in the next general election, due latest by 2013, even though PAS has announced it would stop all unity talks with his party.

“We have stated our intentions but if they are not interested, it is their choice. We are sincere, we never say one thing and do another,” he said.

“We were looking in terms of unity of the people and not just the Malay community. The proposal did not come from us so don’t twist facts and get angry with us, accusing us. That is not right.”

It must be pointed out that this is not true.

The issue of unity government was floated a year ago by both Umno and PAS. Since then PAS president Hadi Awang has spoken about it off and on, but has repeatedly said his party had no intention of leaving Pakatan.

It was Najib who last week revived interest in the matter by likening a tie-up with PAS as a courtship. Several days later, Muhyiddin followed up with the historic offer in the guise of Muslim unity.

However, political watchers and civil society leaders including ex-PM Mahathir Mohamad saw through their doublespeak.

They lambasted the duo for trying to form a Malay power pact with PAS – a move that would have sidelined the non-Malays in the country.

Said Mahathir: “We don’t even know the opinion of our own Umno members. Are we going to leave out our peers in Barisan to form a 100% bumiputra government? If we go ahead and do that, we are going to have a racial confrontation and that’s not healthy for the country.

“I think the country doesn’t want a 100% bumiputra government. We’ve always had a division of authority with Barisan’s component parties. Why must we abandon them just for the sake of forming a government that spells racism?”

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