We are not power crazy, say Pakatan Harapan leaders as they seek a common ground for PM candidate

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s opposition parties have denied that they are power crazy for their attempt to wrest back control in parliament, adding that Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its allies must work towards a common ground to reclaim electoral mandate.

The statement, jointly issued by Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu and Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng on Monday (Jun 22), came amid a difference of opinion within PH over the candidates for the prime minister post. 

The stormy relationship the two men dates back to the 1990s when Mahathir Mohamad (right) sacked Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy, and he was jailed on sodomy charges. (Photo:AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

“We have been criticised for not quickly regaining our rightful government and yet when we find the only realistic route left for success we are criticised as power crazy. This is unfair because while we are not afraid to be in opposition, the rakyat (people) voted for us in 2018 to be in government,” the statement read. 

PH was voted into Putrajaya in the 2018 general election with Dr Mahathir at the helm, but the administration collapsed in February after Mr Muhyiddin Yassin led Bersatu out of the coalition. Mr Muhyiddin, who is backed by Barisan Nasional and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister leading the Perikatan Nasional (PN) pact. 

PH, which finds itself as the opposition coalition again, was strategising its moves to return to federal power but reached a stalemate when component parties and their allies could not agree over the candidacy for premiership.

Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu (middle) shared a photo of him with Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (left) Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong on June 18, 2020. (Photo: Facebook/Mohamad Sabu)

Amanah and DAP were in favour of bringing Dr Mahathir Mohamad back as prime minister, with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy, after Mr Anwar failed to convince the ruling state coalition in Sarawak to back him for the top post. 

PKR, however, has rejected the option and insisted that Mr Anwar should be the prime minister if the coalition recaptures Putrajaya. 

“Both DAP and Amanah have worked strenuously during the last three months to find a common ground acceptable to all but unfortunately it has not been successful. 

“We hope that PKR and Tun (Mahathir) together with Warisan will not drift further apart but instead continue to move closer together. Seeing each other as rivals instead of allies will not help the rakyat’s (people’s) cause and only aid those who successfully deposed an elected government with an unelected one,” the statement read. Warisan refers to Parti Warisan Sabah.  

“Only when we are all on the same page together can we ensure that PH can reclaim the rakyat’s government,” it added.

Disclosing the internal discussions leading to them choosing Dr Mahathir over Mr Anwar, Amanah and DAP said they have been consistently supporting Mr Anwar as the prime minister since 1998 and will continue to do so. 

However, the only realistic option of success in the current political scenario is to combine the strength of all five parties, namely PKR, Amanah and DAP in PH as well as Warisan and Dr Mahathir’s faction of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), they added. 

“This political journey has taken 22 years, we can afford to wait another six months to see Datuk Seri Anwar installed as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia. The six months transition shall be documented in writing, signed by all party leaders and publicly announced,” the statement read. 

In their Monday statement, Amanan and DAP said even though Dr Mahathir, Warisan and PKR cannot agree with each other, all parties must try to find a common ground to recover the electoral mandate won in the 2018 general election. 

The two parties said they are preparing for snap polls while continue to be the “people’s voice and defender” at the time of an economic crisis caused by the pandemic. 

“We shall also mobilise our party machinery to prepare for the possibility of snap general elections and work together with all political parties opposed to the PN government,” the statement read. 

WE CANNOT TRUST MAHATHIR 100 PER CENT: ANWAR

Separately, Mr Anwar, in a Facebook Live on Sunday, revealed that there are elements of distrust among PH over Dr Mahathir being the coalition’s candidate for the prime minister post again.

He said the very fact that an agreement had to be signed for Dr Mahathir to stay in power for six months meant there was suspicion.

Malaysia’s politician Anwar Ibrahim leaves after a meeting in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Feb 29, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng)

“We already had experience, so we cannot trust (him) 100 per cent,” he said, adding that Dr Mahathir had delayed the handover of the prime minister position to him following the 2018 elections, even though an agreement was in place. 

Mr Anwar said it would be very difficult for him to take on the deputy prime minister post with Dr Mahathir at the helm. 

“I joked with my friends, how long must I suffer? Enough is enough,” he said.  

Mr Anwar was formerly Dr Mahathir’s deputy prime minister in the 1990s under the previous Barisan Nasional administration. He was sacked by Dr Mahathir in 1998 and was jailed for corruption and sodomy, charges he maintained were politically motivated.

Source: CNA

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