MAHFUZ Omar, who quit PAS on December 31, has this advice for his former comrades: stay in PAS but vote for Pakatan Harapan in the next elections.
The Pokok Sena MP said he knows some PAS leaders and members who want to join PH but are afraid of the stigma of being associated with Amanah, a splinter party and member of the opposition coalition.
Amanah, Bersatu, PKR and DAP make up the PH coalition.
The Islamist party labelled Amanah members as “traitors” to the faith and this did not sit well with rural folk who hold the party’s dictates in high regard.
“I understand that not everyone has the same courage. So, I tell PAS members not to leave the party but vote for PH. PAS is not ready to form the government when they want to win only 40 seats,” he said.
“Bersatu is a new wave, and many PAS leaders want to link up with it.
“But it seems that they don’t want to find common ground. Instead they find differences and then disseminate it in the media.”
Mahfuz said the reason he did not want to leave PAS earlier was because he was trying to get the Islamist party to join PH.
He said the establishment of Bersatu has created a new wave in Malaysian politics.
During the PAS general assembly in 2017, the Islamist party decided to sever ties with PKR.
As a result of that, Mahfuz said he decided to focus on getting PAS members to support PH.
Mahfuz went around the country attending political meetings, giving talks and making media statements with PH.
Among the efforts made by Mahfuz (to get PAS to join PH) was the various meetings he arranged between PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“They initially signed an agreement, but it was cancelled with a statement that the meeting was just to talk,” Mahfuz said in reference to a statement made by Tuan Ibrahim after signing an initial agreement to work with Bersatu.
What PH has to do now, he said, is to get as many PAS members as possible to vote for PH even though they are still with the Islamist party.
PAS supporters are divided into categories, including the hardcore members, regular members, non-members and fence-sitters, who will vote for PAS, he said.
“There are only 10% to 15% hardcore PAS voters. We need to concentrate on the rest of the members and supporters.”
PAS members are organising a function for Mahfuz in Pokok Sena, his parliamentary constituency, tomorrow.
“I will meet with PAS members in Pokok Sena. There is even a demand from the PAS members to start a PH polling district centre (PDM).
“They are serious about it but they don’t want to leave the party,” said Mahfuz explaining the rationale of the PAS members when he left the party.
While Mahfuz’s exit was condemned by PAS leaders, his departure has not really affected ties with grassroots members.
“When I go for functions, they welcome me. When I go to my parliamentary constituency in Bukit Lada, many people come and greet me. I maintain a good relationship with them.”
Although he has left PAS, Mahfuz said he has no intention to join any party for now.
“But my full support is for PH.”
Since the start, support for PH, particularly Bersatu, has been strong in Kedah and Mahfuz puts it down to former menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir.
“If former PAS members and PKR and DAP come together, Kedah will fall into the hands of PH.
“It has been a conversation, not only among Kedah folk, but government officials in Kedah.
“They said this time, they want Putrajaya and Alor Star to concurrently fall and not like in 2008 when the state fell, but they were still not able to run the state,” he said, referring to the time when PAS captured the state government.