Najib tries unity gambit, again
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDERBy Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak appeared to play the religious and race card today when he appealed to PAS to reconsider the proposal for a unity government with Umno.
The Umno president also dismissed the notion that a unity government would fly in the face of his 1 Malaysia concept, even though a number of non-Muslim groups, including political parties in his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, have expressed concern.
But he appealed to PAS to act in the name of Malay and Muslim unity.
“PAS should not let politics prevent it from doing something which is beneficial for Malay/Muslim unity,” he told reporters at a public function today when asked to comment on how many Malay groups had been disappointed with PAS for rejecting a unity government with Umno.
On Monday, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders rejected Umno’s unity government proposal, and proclaimed all issues surrounding the fiasco which brought the fledgling opposition coalition on the brink of collapse resolved.
Instead, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the de facto PKR leader, said the alliance of PAS, PKR and DAP would focus on their preparation for the next general election and a potential takeover of the federal government.
PAS continues to be in turmoil over the unity government proposal which not only affected ties with its political partners but has caused friction in the party as well.
Sensing the weakness in the opposition alliance, Umno has moved in an attempt to cause further division in PAS and in PR by pressing ahead with the concept of Malay and Muslim unity.
Today, Najib said that any move to strengthen Islam should be encouraged, in what was an obvious move to appeal to the concept of Islamic brotherhood within PAS.
The prime minister believed, however, that the country’s multi-racial nature would not be affected by a more united Malay-Muslim community.
“Just because there is a unity government does not mean the non-Muslims will be neglected. They will still have a role.”