PAS was absent during the official launch of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) recently because Amanah and DAP were there.
Explaining this, the Islamist party's vice-president Iskandar Abdul Samad said the absence had nothing to do with PAS being in cahoots with Barisan Nasional, or "loving" BN chairperson Najib Abdul Razak.
Iskandar told Malay daily Sinar Harian that the party's top leadership decided not to attend the launch because both Amanah, a splinter party of PAS, and its former ally DAP, were in attendance and PAS "do not have any political ties with both parties."
He dismissed allegations that PAS not attending the launch was tantamount to insulting Bersatu chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the opposition coalition as a whole.
"Coincidentally, some of us had other matters to attend to. I came to know that Tun (Mahathir) said it as though PAS is play-acting in fighting Umno and only wants to split votes.
"Tun shouldn't say that because many PAS members have been victims of the Umno/BN regime," he was quoted, adding that PAS was still against the ruling coalition "at all levels".
"Our absence is just a small matter."
What should matter, he said, that there were still meetings held between PAS and Bersatu.
PAS' absence was criticised by one of its own members, Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar, who said the move to not send any representative to the launch created the impression that PAS does not want to establish ties with the opposition alliance as desired by the people.
“It was inappropriate for PAS not to send a representative to the function. The people will view this as PAS wanting to isolate itself from the grand coalition among opposition parties," said the former vice-president, who was the sole PAS leader to attend the event.