Has Pakatan jumped the gun by unveiling its PM candidate prematurely?

WOULD Pakatan Harapan (PH) made to pay a dear price for naming Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the coalition’s Prime Minister material a little too early? What if the named PM candidate loses?

Lawyer and human rights activist Charles Hector is of the opinion that while PH may have names of potential PM candidates in mind, it need not make public its choice so soon – till the outcome of the 15th General Election is known at best.

“The era of BN (Barisan Nasional) or any other coalitions managing to get simple majority in the Parliamentary elections may be over – even in 2018, PH failed to get majority on its own. Only with the formation of post-election coalition with others including Warisan, GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) and others did that majority arise,” he justified in his latest blog.

Charles Hector

“Of the PH parties currently, the party with the ‘worst’ track record is Anwar’s PKR … but it is most likely that PKR will end up contesting the majority of PH seats.”

To solidify his argument, Hector presented the following observation:

  • About 12 PKR MPs, including the PKR No. 2 (Datuk Seri Azmin Ali) left PKR and that led to the Sheraton Move – and eventually the fall of the PH Plus government (of course, there was also defection by Bersatu MPs); and
  • PKR decided to stand with its own logo in the Johor state elections by contesting for 20 seats, the dismal outcome of which demonstrated how much support PKR has.

“Hence, can we not say that PH support comes from DAP and Amanah – not PKR? So, it is best not to name Anwar as PM but maybe one of the PM candidates,” reckoned Hector. “Anwar apparently decided to contest in Tambun which is rather a hot seat. What if he lost?”

Above all else, Hector said it was difficult to gauge the actual level of support for Anwar as there was no contest for the PKR presidency.

“Anwar’s support after expulsion from UMNO was strong because many saw him as a victim but after his release from the first corruption charge, the support significantly dropped. Was this support for Anwar a support for a politician, or simply a support for a victim of perceived injustice?” asked the co-founder of non-governmental organisation (NGO) Malaysians Against Death Penalty & Torture (MADPET).

“Anwar should have gone again for a nationwide tour to determine the amount of grassroots support he really has but he did not. The media and international community may mistakenly believe that Anwar enjoys a lot of support but the reality at the grassroots may be different.”

Another underlying issue with PH, according to Hector, is that of its failure to build the number of component parties within the coalition.

“There are many existing opposition parties – some new and some old – who could have been invited to become part of PH to make it stronger. Will this failure (of strengthening the coalition) matters come GE15?” he asked again.

But then, considering the choices Malaysians have in GE15, “PH may still be the best of the lot”, he added. – Oct 23, 2022


Main pic credit: Selangorkini

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