Two Malaysian political leaders who traded barbs over months prior to last month’s general election, met on Monday (June 4).
The president of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) Abdul Hadi Awang met Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the latter’s Perdana Leadership Foundation that serves as one of his offices.
Datuk Seri Hadi was accompanied by Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar and PAS adviser Mustafa Ali.
Mr Hadi and Tun Dr Mahathir attacked one another in the run-up to the polls, including in April when the PAS chief said Malaysians must not make the mistake of allowing Dr Mahathir to become prime minister again.
In return, Dr Mahathir said Mr Hadi should go back to school and teach religion there, rather than lead a political party.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance led by Dr Mahathir swept to power in the May 9 polls, while PAS surprised many people by retaining the Kelantan state assembly and winning in Terengganu.
Dr Mahathir posted pictures of the visit on Twitter.
No details of the meeting were given.
PAS has been hopeful that its new government in Terengganu – a state that produces oil and gas offshore – would continue to get its share of the annual petroleum royalties.
Reports have said that the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) state government in Terengganu received about RM800 million (S$270 million) to RM1 billion in petroleum royalties a year from the BN federal government.
When PAS won Terengganu in the 1999 polls, Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister, converted the petroleum royalties paid to the state government to “wang ehsan” – compassionate payments.
These funds were then handed out to BN leaders in the state, instead of the PAS government. The view then was that handing the royalties to PAS would strengthen the Islamist party’s hold on Terengganu.
PAS leaders, since last month’s election, have pointed out that the PH election manifesto said oil-and-gas producing states will be given a “reasonable sum” for royalties.
The manifesto also said PH will raise the oil royalties to Sabah and Sarawak to 20 per cent from the present 5 per cent, and PAS leaders hope Terengganu would get this same quantum – www.straitstimes.com