Mukhriz to Anwar: It was Tun that united PH during 2018 elections, not PKR
SHAH ALAM – It was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that united the disparate factions of the opposition prior to the 2018 General Elections (GE14) by deciding that the Pakatan Harapan coalition should run under the PKR logo, not Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or his party, said Pejuang President Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
Weighing in on the fractured opposition where they have even overlapped and clashed with one another in the Johor state elections, Mukhriz said the issue is evident of Anwar’s inability to unite the opposition bloc under one united front.
This is more evident in the use of two different logos, one by PKR and another by PH, in the state election, raising more questions on whether the coalition is truly united, said Mukhriz.
“Even though it was Tun before GE14, who decided that all four parties should come together and contest under the PKR logo, the thinking behind it was to unite all of us but what happens to PH now? two different logos are used, they seem disunited.
“So ironically it was Tun that did it the first time. Now Tun is not in PH and they cannot get their act together. So how are we supposed to come in?
Mukhriz also said Anwar did not carry himself as a true opposition leader by diligently working to unite all opposition factions and revealed that there were no serious attempts by the PKR president to engage with Pejuang.
Mukhriz also stated that Anwar is making decisions solely based on the needs of his party, rather than the coalition as a whole.
“Who was supposed to lead the opposition front? He (Anwar) didn't talk to us. There was no real serious discussion about this big tent and we only heard bout it through the media.
“There was no real engagement with us. we already knew even if they did, might be difficult for us as a Malay party to be associated with PH because of past issues, so we thought that it should be okay for us to go separately.
“We didn’t quite understand why PH is contesting with two logos, so what happens to the big tent policy? So how do you contest big tent when u have things like that.
“I believe he acts on behalf of PKR, this is my assessment from outside, but that's how I see it Even between them there is no true leadership of PH,’’ he said in a recent interview with Sinar Daily,’’ he said.
Mukhriz was referring to the “big tent” strategy practice by PH, where they intend to unify Malaysians, regardless of political affiliations.
However, PH stated in their strategy, “kleptocrats” are not welcome in their midst.
The Johor state election saw a total of 223 candidates from 10 political parties and 16 independent candidates vying for votes come March 12.
Parties such as Pejuang, Warisan and Muda and even Parti Bangsa Malaysia is throwing their hat into the ring in this election.
However, this had led to clashes even among opposition parties with seats such as Kempas and Larkin seeing multi-corner fights.
Prior to the election, PKR has also raised eyebrows by deciding to contest under their own logo while Amanah and DAP will contest using the PH logo.
This has raised questions on whether there is disunity within the PH coalition.
This move further draws questions on Anwar’s ability to lead the coalition, especially with the disastrous result for the coalition in the Melaka and Sarawak state election.
According to Senior Fellow at the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR) Prof Azmi Hassan, Anwar’s ability to pull together the opposition bloc and even effectively lead PH have been in serious doubts with the outcome of the recent state elections.
“Does Anwar have the clout or gravitas to pull the opposition under one umbrella? As we see in Sarawak, no.
“He doesn't have that kind of influence as Dr Mahathir and his ability is in question whether he could pull the fort together for the opposition and currently Johor really demonstrate something is not right for Anwar not only to lead PH, but he just doesn't have the aura, the characteristic such as Dr Mahathir, to pull together the opposition bloc to face Barisan Nasional under one umbrella.
However, Azmi opined that the PH coalition could still stand to be a formidable force provided they agree that there should be a change of leadership
“If Amanah and DAP agree that they need to put out a new person, doesn't matter who led Pakatan Harapan, there must be a new leader in opposition. Then only I think the opposition bloc could become a formidable force especially when GE15 is of concern.
Previously, PKR Communications Director Fahmi Fadzil had spoken to Sinar Daily on PKR using their own logo in the election as their grassroots felt the party logo is much more recognisable in rural seats.
“It is what the grassroots wanted and they felt the logo is far more recognisable, especially in rural Malay seats,’’ he said.
When asked why many Anwar has become a walking target by those even in the opposition bloc, often questioning his ability to lead, Fahmi simply said that these characters, without naming anyone specific, wanted the PKR’s president role as opposition leader.
“It is easy for people to criticise him, even from the opposition bloc because they simply want his job. So they take turns to question his ability but can they actually do his job? I don’t think so,’’ he said.