POKOK Sena MP Mahfuz Omar has confirmed his departure from PAS and is to submit his resignation letter to the party leadership tonight.
He will hand his resignation letter to the PAS secretary-general tonight at 11.59pm, he told a press conference in Alor Star, Kedah that was broadcast on Facebook Live, confirming a report by The Malaysian Insightearlier today.
Mahfuz, who was a former Kedah Pas commissioner and a popular party vice-president, said his wife and daughter would also join him in leaving the Islamist party.
He said he was still undecided about which political party he would join but admitted that there had been offers.
“I would like to say thank you for the offers. Let me take a break to do some thinking. I will announce it later.”
It also took him a while to decide on quitting PAS, he added, as he had wanted to “save” it by ensuring it remained part of the opposition coalition.
“I have been PAS member for 34 years. I took a different approach compared to the PAS leadership (because it) was an attempt to save PAS.
“Many in Pakatan Harapan (PH) still had hope that PAS would join them, and I was trying to get the party leadership to join in, even after the party cut ties with PKR and DAP.
“But now it is clear that PAS is not joining PH,” said Mahfuz.
PAS used to be part of the Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact, which collapsed after it parted ways with allies PKR and DAP. This caused the collapse of the pact and the birth of a new party, Amanah, led by former PAS leaders who supported coalition politics with other opposition allies.
PAS is now with a clutch of smaller parties in another opposition bloc Gagasan Sejahtera, while its former allies and Amanah are now in PH.
Mahfuz said he had been questioned repeatedly by PAS members about his support for PH, and although the Islamist party’s leadership disagreed with joining the new pact, there were PAS members who were supportive of the idea.
“Some of them do not dare to show their support openly as they are still PAS members but I told them it is ok to still be with the party and support PH.
Asked if he hoped to defend his Pokok Sena seat in Kedah in the 14th general election, Mahfuz said it was not a priority.
He also welcomed the proposal to name PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the opposition’s interim prime minister if it won the election.
“Age is not a problem,” Mahfuz said, adding that the former prime minister would find support in the Kubang Pasu or Langkawi federal seats, both in Kedah, because of history.
Dr Mahathir had been Kubang Pasu MP while he was prime minister for 22 years and had contributed greatly to the development of Langkawi island.