Tuesday June 23 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders today rejected Umno's unity government proposal, and proclaimed all issues surrounding the fiasco which brought the fledgling opposition coalition on the brink of collapse resolved.
Following a meeting held in Parliament today, PR leaders in a joint statement reiterated their loyalty pledge to strengthen the alliance, wanting to focus instead on their preparation for the next general election and a potential takeover of the federal government.
"The PR council of leaders reaffirms our rejection of the idea of forming a unity government with Umno/Barisan Nasional.
"It is a clearly malicious and desperate attempt to compromise the integrity of the increasingly popular PR," said PKR de facto Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a press conference held after the meeting.
Anwar has played a pivotal role in patching up the cracks among the three parties over the unity talks proposed by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and his deputy Nasharuddin Mat Isa.
He held various private meetings with Hadi, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat in the past week, playing mediator by urging them to bypass the unity talks controversy and move on.
Party sources said the results of these meetings can be seen in the sudden reversal made by various PR leaders who, instead of attacking Hadi over his flirtations with Umno, said it was noble and democratic to make space for engagement with their rivals on matters of national interest.
Hadi was the first to make such drastic turnabout, saying the unity government idea was ill-conceived – even by Umno themselves – and that PAS was only willing to “engage” Umno/BN on specific issues and not on Malay and Islamic unity as reported in the past.This was again reiterated by PR leaders in today’s meeting with Anwar, saying that PR is willing to engage Umno/BN on matters such as improving the quality of education, restoring the integrity of the judiciary and eradication of corruption.