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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Has Pakatan Harapan ceased to be a ‘coalition of hope’?

The DAP-PKR feud in Sarawak has dented hopes of Pakatan Harapan being a better Opposition coalition than its predecessor Pakatan Rakyat.

The Sarawak polls has been touted as a litmus test for Pakatan Harapan, mocked by many as a makeshift coalition hurriedly assembled by an Opposition in desperate need of a new counterweight to Barisan Nasional (BN) following the untimely demise of Pakatan Rakyat.

Many have been keen to see how the new Opposition coalition will shape up for the coming Sarawak election. How the three parties work together to bring their co-operation to bear on this election held in a BN fortress will go a long way towards assuring their supporters that a new credible coalition has finally been put in place.

Any hope that this is a better Pakatan however may have been dented by the failure of the state’s DAP and PKR to co-operate and uphold their national leaders’ aspiration to have only one-on-one contests against their common enemy, BN. It has been reported that the two parties may be involved in up to five multi-party contests, an eventuality that will call into question the ability of the two parties to co-operate and make sacrifices for their common good.

In any contest, the best opportunity to savour victory is when your opponent is in bad shape. For BN, they have had to contend with their Prime Minister being rocked by major scandals, coupled with Dr Mahathir Mohammad and his gang of rebels baying for the former’s blood. It did seem that the new Opposition had been gifted with gilt-edged opportunities to grow its stature and relevance but clearly these opportunities have been frittered away by them.

The 14th General Election is only some two years away, yet the groans coming from the supporters of Pakatan Harapan at their lack of cohesiveness and leadership, is all too palpable. Major events from the infamous Selangor menteri besar crisis to the still unresolved scandal involving Lim Guan Eng’s bungalow, has left a bitter taste in the mouth of those once fired by the dream of the Opposition’s victorious march to Putrajaya.

The lack of leadership in the new Pakatan is indeed telling. With Anwar Ibrahim incarcerated, one is now left to guess who in truth wields more power and influence in PKR. Wan Azizah or Azmin Ali? Yet often Anwar’s voice from behind the prison walls is still heard on key issues.

As for the DAP, the effects of the loss of Karpal Singh is all too obvious. Lim Kit Siang is no doubt a highly respected parliamentarian, but so long as Lim Guan Eng is not yet cleared of the bungalow scandal, negative thoughts about this party will inevitably linger.

Parti Amanah Negara is still new and has nothing to shout about yet. If they can win just one seat in Sarawak it will be an achievement, as even PAS has yet to win any in the state so far.

Indeed Pakatan Rakyat did manage to raise the rakyat’s hopes for a change of government a few notches until Anwar’s jailing and the DAP-PAS divorce. Many, including me, nevertheless still remain hopeful that Pakatan Harapan can get its act together so we can once again have an Opposition that will keep BN on their toes, so they do not take their continued governance for granted.

By K H Su, Su is an FMT reader. (without prejudice)

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