KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Umno did not dupe PAS which PAS claimed to have happened when the party was in Barisan Nasional (BN). The former prime minister said PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was reported to have told why PAS could not work with Umno to unite the Malays.
“He said PAS was duped by Umno when PAS was in BN. How Umno duped PAS was not clearly explained,” Dr Mahathir said in his latest posting in his blog, www.chedet.cc today.
Disunity in PAS was the cause…
He said the disunity in PAS at that time was not due to Umno and the party’s defeat in the Kelantan state election in March, 1978 resulted in PAS leaving BN. “The discord in PAS was not due to Umno but because Datuk Mohd Nasir (the Kelantan Menteri Besar at the time) had challenged the leadership of Datuk Asri Muda (PAS president at the time). PAS’ defeat also caused it to quit BN. There was no deceit by Umno,” he added.
Dr Mahathir said he was a cabinet minister under the then prime minister Tun Hussein Onn when PAS quit BN, and was in Tun Abdul Razak Hussein’s cabinet together with Datuk Asri Muda and Datuk Hassan Adli (who was PAS deputy president at the time) when PAS joined BN earlier.
“Datuk Asri was given the post of Land and Mines Minister. This means he was responsible for Felda. After some months of PAS being in BN, Johor Umno members complained to Tun
Razak that Datuk Asri was actively promoting PAS among Felda settlers. I was
sitting next to Tun (Razak) at that moment,” he said.
UMNO Felda settlers converted to PAS supporters…
Dr Mahathir said it so happened that most of the Felda settlers had been strong supporters of Umno but after Asri was in charge of Felda, many of them became staunch supporters of PAS and rejected Umno.
“At that time, there was also a rift between Asri as the PAS chief and Mohd Nasir as Kelantan Menteri Besar to replace Asri. Mohd Nasir claimed that he had detected many instances of misappropriation by Asri when he was the Menteri Besar.”
Dr Mahathir said Asri tried to remove Mohd Nasir through a vote of no confidence while Mohd Nasir refused to quit his post although he lost. He said many PAS supporters sided with Mohd Nasir and they held big demonstrations against Asri.
“As PAS was divided, the Kelantan BN government could not function. Emergency was declared and a senior government official was appointed as the state’s chief administrator.”
“In March, 1978, a state election was held in Kelantan. Mohd Nasir set up Berjasa which contested against PAS. Support for Berjasa was so strong that it won 11 seats while PAS won only two seats,” he further recalled.
Despite what happened in the past, said Dr Mahathir, Muslims were enjoined by Islam to welcome peace offered by their enemies.
“Muslims are also enjoined to be united and to regard each other as kin. Rejecting peace among Muslims is against Islamic teachings. Muslims must not reject efforts to unite and strengthen their community by making baseless accusations,” he said.