KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin fired Umno’s first salvo against Pakatan Rakyat (PR) at the launch of his party’s general assembly tonight, whipping out the same racial and religious card in Umno’s political playbook to highlight what he said were ideological differences that parties in the opposition pact were unlikely to resolve.
PAS earned most of Muhyiddin’s attention, however, as the Umno deputy president repeated lines that the Islamist party, seen as Umno’s toughest opponent in the coming polls, would never achieve its Islamic state goal.
He labelled DAP “racists” and “chauvinists”, called PKR “damaged” and “harmful” and told PAS that if was “daydreaming” if it believed that either of its PR partners would support its struggle for Islam.
“Don’t lie to voters. Enough. It’s enough that for 12 elections, PAS has lied 12 times that it supposedly fights to uphold Islam.
“Let us not allow PAS to lie for the 13th time,” Muhyiddin (picture) said in his speech at the opening of Umno’s Youth, Wanita and Puteri general assemblies tonight.
The Umno leader’s words tonight, and the ensuing debates and addresses by party leaders during their final huddle before national polls, will set the stage for the 13th general election, which is expected to be the country’s most closely-fought electoral battle to date.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin is fighting hard to recapture the pact’s lost parliamentary majority and must make sure its over three million members are ready for the stiff contest.
In recent months, PAS has found itself the target of attacks from BN and Umno leaders as the former is viewed as the ruling pact’s greatest contender for the Malay vote, which is crucial for either side to determine the outcome of the polls.
The coming days in the Umno assembly will likely witness more harsh criticisms against PAS as members strive to drive an even deeper wedge between the Islamist party and its non-Muslim allies in PR.
Setting the tone today, Muhyiddin said that PAS “has no place” in the opposition pact, adding that this purported weakness would manifest itself if the opposition were granted polls victory and has to form a government.“
Ironically, even if PAS wins in all the seats it plans to contest, it cannot form an Islamic state as planned.
“Perhaps PAS would tell us that it does not matter that it is not contesting a large number of seats because later, PKR and DAP would support their plans.
“Don’t daydream,” he told PAS.
Muhyiddin added that the lack of cooperation within PR was only made clearer recently when delegates at PAS’ muktamar mooted their party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s name as prime minister-designate instead of PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said that this showed that PAS’ grassroots do not have confidence in PKR’s or DAP’s leaders to lead the country.
“They do not believe in (DAP secretary-general) Lim Guan Eng.
“They do not believe in (DAP adviser) Lim Kit Siang.
“They also do not believe in (DAP chairman) Karpal Singh.
“They do not believe in Anwar Ibrahim at all,” Muhyiddin thundered to the over 3,000 delegates at Dewan Merdeka here.
“This is PAS’ greatest failure in forging cooperation and power-sharing with DAP and PKR,” he declared.
Muhyiddin later contrasted PR and PAS with Umno, saying that unlike its foes, his party has never strayed from its Islamic principles.
In the same breath, the deputy prime minister said that although Umno has fought for the Malays and Islam for 66 years, it has never ignored or victimised those of other religious faiths.
“This is Umno’s justice. This is Umno’s inclusiveness.
“Umno does not need to feel guilty and wrong while fighting on its own platform.
“Umno promises to continue defending the Malay race and Malaysians at large,” he said.
Umno’s 66th general assembly will kick off with the Youth, Wanita and Puteri meets tomorrow.