PAS leader Mahfuz Omar last night urged members of his Islamist party to come to their senses and join all opposition parties to stand up against Barisan Nasional in the coming general election.
The Pokok Sena MP said this as he stood before Pakatan Harapan leaders and supporters in the PKR stronghold of Permatang Pauh, Penang, last night in a ceramah that drew close to 1,000 people.
He said he attended PH events, even the roundtable meeting that formed PH, because he believed opposition parties should be working together to find common ground that could unite them.
Mahfuz said in the past, he opposed former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had detained him under the Internal Security Act detention. He had even contested the Permatang Pauh seat with PH de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim in 1990.
“We should be big enough to accept whoever that wants change for a better future,” he said.
“If Dr Mahathir, the former Umno president who led the country for 22 years, invites me to join the fight against Umno and bring change for the country, I must accept.
“It would be strange for me to turn down the opportunity when I had fought Umno for so long,” he said.
Mahfuz said nobody would vote for a party that was not aiming to win to form the government, referring to his party leaders’ previous remarks on the number of seats they wanted to contest.
“When they first said they wanted to win 40 seats, they said it was to become the kingmaker. In politics, you cannot tell people you want to be the kingmaker.
“People would accuse you of trying to make a deal. It creates a bad perception, as voters today are better informed. They vote according to their knowledge, not on sentiment.
“You want to be the kingmaker, but you have broken ties with DAP and PKR, while calling Amanah traitor. So the perception is you will be the kingmaker for BN (Barisan Nasional),” he said.
Mahfuz said this was not good for PAS, urging members to come to their senses and work together with PH for the sake of the country.
The former Kedah PAS commissioner also said PAS made an unwise move declaring that it wanted to wrest the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat from PKR.
“Declaring their intentions for Permatang Pauh was an unwise political strategy.
“Saying that they will contest in other opposition-held seats creates the perception that PAS is greedy and gives people the reason to reject the party,” he said.
Mahfuz received cheers, laughter and applause when he poked fun at PAS leaders saying they were satisfied with explanations by 1Malaysia Development Bhd chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy about the controversial sovereign fund.
“That is all our money. How can we suddenly be satisfied with the rationalisation of 1MDB? The rationalisation involved selling land, companies to China and transferring debts to MoF (Finance Ministry).
“I cannot accept the statement…and today (Prime Minister) Najib Razak saysPAS practises mature politics,” he said.
Mahfuz said some PAS leaders said it was fine to have done something wrong as long as the person repented later.
“But something that is clearly an offence, we disregard the law enforcement authorities, and just tell the person to go to an open space and repent? There, you repent; then carry on as prime minister,” he said.
Mahfuz left the people in stitches when he said he knew the government was running short of funds because MPs’ claims could not be paid.
“MPs can make claims for official duties. The finance officer at Parliament whispered to me saying my claims from February are not through yet, because there was no money,” he said.
Later when approached by The Malaysian Insight, Mahfuz said he had spoken at many PH ceramah, and so far, he had not gotten into trouble with the party leadership or its disciplinary board.
“Because I am not wrong. There are no reports against me. I tell people to reject BN and Umno. That is not wrong.
“I also ask PAS and its members to return to mainstream politics, together with PH. It is a positive reminder (to PAS). We have to keep trying.”