UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has criticised the cooperation between Umno and PAS again, saying that the grassroots from both parties frown upon the move.
He said even as the top leaders from the two parties got along, whatever cooperation between them would fail without the support of grassroots members.
“Those on the ground disagree with it. My views don’t matter. Umno grassroots, PAS grassroots… they all disagree.
“That is the reality. Those at the top can embrace but the grassroots… that is the problem,” the Gua Musang MP told The Malaysian Insight.
Razaleigh, fondly known as Ku Li, said on Friday that he was confident that Umno and PAS would not cooperate in the 14th general election.
He said this had been communicated to Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman.
He also said BN would fight PAS to the end, and the ruling coalition has a good chance to take Kelantan from PAS, which has ruled the state since 1990.
Razaleigh said he had received reports from the ground that Kelantan folk were ready to vote for change in the coming polls.
“It cannot be that life in Kelantan has to depend on what happens outside the state. Kelantan itself can sustain its own needs.
“So if the PAS leadership is incapable, even weak now, then it is right for Umno to offer to take over the state,” said the Kelantan prince.
Last December, The Malaysian Insight reported that the state Umno liaison committee met with Najib at Razaleigh’s “white house” in Kuala Lumpur.
During the meeting, Kelantan Umno told Najib in no uncertain terms that they refuse to work with PAS and would work hard to take back Kelantan.
PAS previously worked with PKR and DAP in the Pakatan Rakyat pact, but the coalition fell apart after PAS broke ties with DAP in 2015 over the hudud issue. PAS then ended ties with PKR last year.
PAS is not part of the new opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan, which consists of PKR, DAP, Bersatu and PAS splinter party Amanah.
PAS’ actions in some issues had previously sparked talks that the Islamist party was interested in working with Umno, its traditional political rival.
PAS, which hardly received press coverage by BN-controlled mainstream media, now often make headlines because it stands against PH, which is helmed by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Razaleigh told The Malaysian Insight that Umno was capable of administrating Kelantan and giving good service to the people if voters in the state gave BN their support.
“We can do better than PAS. They have been in government for many years,” the former finance minister said.
Asked if he was willing to help Umno campaign to win back Kelantan in the coming polls, he said he had not been informed of such a proposal.
Razaleigh briefly left Umno after the party split in 1987, following his challenge against then party president Dr Mahathir.
He formed Parti Melayu Semangat 46, which worked with PAS in Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah.
They managed to win Kelantan in the 1990 general election. In 1996, Razaleigh dissolved Semangat 46 and returned to Umno.
Although PAS had been in power for 28 years in Kelantan, the Islamist party may find it hard to defend the state, as it will also face its splinter party Amanah in the polls.
Three-cornered fights in Kelantan are expected to be an advantage to BN and will deliver the state back to the coalition.