Harapan party chiefs shut the door on PAS amid debate within PKR


(Updated )

The Pakatan Harapan component chiefs last night declared the coalition will not work with PAS despite an ongoing debate within PKR on the merits of doing so.

The coalition issued a brief three-paragraph statement on its relationship with PAS after a three-hour long meeting at the PKR headquarters, which ended about 12.30am.

"Pakatan Harapan will not cooperate with PAS in the 14th general election (GE14).

"Pakatan Harapan is preparing its strategy for the possibility of three-cornered contests in GE14," it said in the statement.

The statement was signed by Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad, president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and deputy presidents Muhyiddin Yassin, Lim Guan Eng and Mohamad Sabu.

Mahathir and Muhyiddin lead Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) while Wan Azizah, Lim and Mohamad head PKR, DAP and Amanah respectively.

Notably, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali (photo), who is a Harapan vice-president, was absent from the meeting.

Azmin's absence was confirmed by his fellow Harapan vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, who is also Amanah deputy president.

Azmin is a key figure among proponents of electoral negotiations with PAS.

The Harapan decision tonight, endorsed by Wan Azizah, came as a surprise, as just hours before, PKR leaders were still debating on whether the party should continue electoral negotiations with PAS.

Azmin had said the negotiations were independent of Harapan and a PKR initiative.

Asked how the Harapan presidential council could decide on the matter without the presence of Azmin, Salahuddin said there was consensus from all four component parties.

He added that the "no cooperation" with PAS ruling applies to all states, including Selangor where Azmin is menteri besar.

"(It applies to) all states, that was what I understood," Salahuddin told journalists, and he went on to hail the Harapan presidential council for its "firm decision".

Mahathir said the leaders had a "good discussion" at the meeting.

He added that the Harapan presidential council also discussed the appointment of state-level Harapan leaders.

The PKR political bureau meeting will take place this afternoon and Wan Azizah is expected to brief them on what transpired at the Harapan presidential council meeting.

Prior to the Harapan meet, PKR political bureau members on both side - those favouring negotiations with PAS and those against - told Malaysiakini that they were gearing up to push their case at the party meeting this afternoon.

However, the Harapan decision last night is expected to put those favouring negotiations on weaker ground, some of whom have claimed that their position was endorsed by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently in prison.

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