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It’s no rocket science, Umno ‘court cluster’ embarrassed Malaysia, says top PAS spokesman

Khairil Nizam Khirudin says PAS could even convene an extraordinary general assembly to reevaluate its charter of cooperation with Umno.

Staff Writers
3 minute read
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang (fourth from left) with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (centre) and other Barisan Nasional leaders at Umno's general assembly in March last year.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang (fourth from left) with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (centre) and other Barisan Nasional leaders at Umno's general assembly in March last year.

The top spokesman for PAS has denounced the “court cluster” politicians as an embarrassment to the nation, as the Islamist party steadily distances itself from the Umno faction aligned with former prime minister Najib Razak and his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, under whom a historic ceasefire between the two largest Malay political blocs was inked three years ago.

PAS information chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin even indicated that the party could convene an extraordinary muktamar (general assembly) to reevaluate Muafakat Nasional, the 2019 charter that saw PAS and Umno agreeing to cooperate after decades of bitter rivalry for the Malay vote.

“The whole world knows how we were embarrassed when faced with cases of corruption and abuse of power that took place during the previous Barisan Nasional rule, which was punished by the people in the 14th general election,” Khairil said in a short conversation with his counterpart from Bersatu, Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

“And these are the same people who are seen disturbing the country’s political stability,” he said, in a clear reference to charges against Najib related to the 1MDB scandal.

PAS information chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin.

Najib, Zahid and several Umno politicians who were part of the previous BN government earned the nickname “court cluster” over the hundreds of criminal charges slapped against them since 2018.

Late last year, the appeals court said the RM42 million in Najib’s personal account, for which he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ jail, was a “national embarrassment”.

“There was no national interest when RM42 million was transferred into Najib’s accounts, only national embarrassment,” appeals court judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil had said when reading a strongly worded statement on Dec 8.

The “court cluster” group was also behind the downfall of the Perikatan Nasional government led by Muhyiddin Yassin during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis last August.

More recently, Zahid and Umno leaders aligned with him are said to be planning a series of state elections, following Umno’s victory in Melaka.

Khairil, who repeated PAS’ strong objection to any move to dissolve state governments in order to hold elections, said the crimes committed by the court cluster were well documented, and that it would be wrong to return them to power.

“(To know about) the court cluster, it’s no rocket science. We can access information about it everywhere. Malaysia’s dignity is at stake because of the actions of these leaders,” he said, adding however that not all in Umno should be painted with the same brush.

Khairil said PAS’ cooperation with other parties was based on the general principle set out by its Shura council, which is made up of its senior Islamic scholars.

He said any decision to break ties with Umno over disagreements with the court would go through a similar process of consultation among party leaders.

“If you ask when is the turning point for PAS (to break ties with Umno), it will have to go through procedures, which means these things will have to be considered, and if there are strong calls, maybe a special muktamar can be held to renegotiate before the outcome is submitted to the Shura to decide on the policy,” said Khairil.

Khairil’s remarks came five days after a similar rebuke from PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, who protested attempts by Umno leaders at forcing state elections.

“We know that the ones responsible for this strategy are the court cluster, those who lost the 14th general election, those who have no positions. Not everyone in Umno.

“If you have morals, fight it out in court, don’t burden the people.

“Here, they are causing trouble for the people with elections. They want to save themselves, so they trouble the people. If they are in the right, they should not be afraid to fight their charges in court,” Hadi said last Friday, ahead of a retreat with Bersatu leaders.