Malaysian oppn join forces amid rift with govt on Zakir Naik
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s two oldest political parties signed a charter of formal cooperation on Saturday, presenting arguably the largest political platform for the majority MalayMuslims at a time of simmering racial and religious tensions.
Southeast Asia’s thirdlargest economy has seen a string of racial flare-ups over the past year and a half, as PM Mahathir Mohamad’s nascent government grapples with an increasingly unhappy majority that fears it is losing its special privileges. The union between former ruling party UMNO and Islamist party PAS, promises that political power will return to the ethnic MalayMuslims should they win in the next polls due in 3 years. Mahathir’s administration has had to delay or withdraw many of its planned reforms after a backlash from the opposition. Mahathir has had to repeatedly state that the government would not extradite Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, despite an ongoing probe for alleged stoking of racial sentiments.