JOHOR, Sept 18 – Blamed for straining ties in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has refuted suggestions that the coalition will break up over its latest crisis.Hadi has been criticised not only by allies DAP and PKR for his handling of the Selangor menteri besar crisis, but also by leaders and members of his own party. He told reporters that the three parties could mend ties after the opening of PAS’s 60th assembly today without the traditional attendance of top PKR and DAP leaders.
“Every coalition has problems. Umno Terengganu has problems,” Hadi told reporters when asked about the relationship between the three parties which has soured over the Selangor menteri besar impasse. “We are confident,” Hadi then replied when asked whether ties between the three would return to normal. He also downplayed suggestions that PR’s top leaders were giving the party the cold shoulder by not attending the opening of the assembly. “There were DAP and PKR leaders and I consider them senior enough representatives.”
Among other PR leaders at the assembly’s opening this morning were PKR vice-president Tian Chua and Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Thong. Hadi and a faction of the party’s influential Muslim scholars have taken positions that put PAS at odds with partners DAP and PKR on the Selangor menteri besar crisis. The party’s elected central executive committee, however, has stood with its allies in choosing PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the state’s top post.
The different stands by the two factions have driven a rift in PAS. The inconsistent decisions by the leadership have also led to a drop in trust among the public towards the party. During the press conference, Hadi and his deputy Mohamad Sabu, also appeared to put up a united front, so as to dispel talks that intra-party friction was at a boiling point. “We are here together and there are no problems,” said a smiling Mohammad, also known as Mat Sabu, who was sitting to Hadi’s right. Mat Sabu is often seen as the face of the group that is critical of Hadi.