Malaysia's main Islamic party has said it will remain loyal to an opposition alliance, despite holding talks with the ruling party of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, a report said on Saturday.
Former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim leads the loose alliance of three opposition parties, including Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS), which is trying to topple the government by wooing defectors from Abdullah's United Malays National Organisation.
That plan looked like it was hitting a major snag after Prime Minister Abdullah and PAS leaders said at the weekend they had held a series of "unity talks".
But PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said his party has no plans to abandon the opposition and join UMNO.
"There is no joining with Umno; none. We are also not entering Barisan," the Star newspaper quoted him as saying on its website.
Barisan Nasional or the National Front is a coalition of race-based parties that has governed Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957.
Abdul Hadi also defended his party's talks with UMNO, saying PAS was invited to the discussion.
"UMNO gave us the opportunity to raise our grouses with them and so we did," he said.
Earlier this week, de factor opposition leader Anwar said the opposition's plan to take power by its self-imposed deadline of Sept. 16 remained on track.
The former deputy premier is leading the opposition campaign at a time when the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition is facing its worst crisis in 50 years.
The political uncertainty has roiled financial markets and unnerved investors.
Anwar, himself, is facing a sodomy allegation from a former aide that could derail his plans. He has not been charged but the claim mirrors events in 1998, when his rise was halted by a jail term for sodomy and corruption.
Last Mod: 26 Temmuz 2008, 15:08