PH-BN coalition: A compromise or impossible?

20 Nov 2022 07:18pm

SHAH ALAM - Among options thrown on the table as the nation grappled with a hung parliament after the 15th general elections was an unlikely alliance between Pakatan Harapan, whose 82 seats made them the bloc with the largest number of seats, and arch nemesis Barisan Nasional, who brough 30 seats to the table.

As fractured as the relationship, if ever there was any, between the two blocs, some quarters suggested a compromise could have suited both parties.

On both sides of the divide, mixed views prevailed although the possibilities were also evident.

Umno Youth executive council member Bastien Onn said apart from the clash of ideologies with PH which includes DAP, his concerns are that such collaborations would also further unsettle the Umno grassroots already split over the power struggle between the camps of embattled president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

"At this juncture, such cooperations would only intensify the people's ire towards Umno. The question is whether people would see it as Umno being dragged into a compromise just to save Zahid. It would validate concerns that Umno is merely being used as a tool to save Zahid. I think the people have sent us a message through the ballots and we should take heed of that," said Bastien.

PKR's former Perak chief and Anwar's campaign manager for the 15th general elections Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak remained pragmatic, stating that such collaborations were not beyond imagination, although unlikely.

"If you look at PN, its main components are Bersatu and PAS. We all remember how Muhyiddin once referred to PAS as 'Parti Ajaran Sesat' (a heretic party) but now they are happily married to each other. So, it is up to the leadership to decide whether this would be a suitable way forward, as I am sure such collaborations would require compromises from both parties," said Farhash.

"I have no opinion on whether it is suitable or not because in politics anything can happen and we should always move forward with what we have, be it as a government or opposition."

RIGHTS Foundation chairman Yusmadi Yusoff in a Tweet explained that under the Westminster concept of parliament the party or coalition with the highest majority of seats would be given the priority to have an audience with the King with the intention of forming the government.

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"In Malaysia, the result of the general elections sees Pakatan Harapan with the highest majority (82 seats). Thus PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should be given the priority to have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and given the opportunity to form the government," said Yusmadi.

Comedian Afdhlin Shauki, 51, a PKR member, said it would not be impossible for BN to team up with PH as long as the leaders were capable of giving the best services to the people. He said the issues between the two parties have arised mainly due to rife corroption scandals that arised during their administration.

"We have the best leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who has been in this political industry for a long time. As for BN, it is important to understand that we do not hate the party, but we are very much against corrupt leaders. Now, the question is, would we be happy to accept Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin or Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang as Prime Minister or could we accept a deal with BN?" said Afdlin.

Former PKR political and democracy trainer Wan Amierrul Ikhwan Mohd Naser, 39, said it would be a good move for BN if they want to be under the same roof as PH.

He said: "After Muhyiddin’s first tenure as Prime Minister ended, both parties could come to an understanding and signed a memorandum of understanding to stablise the government under Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. I hoped this could happen again in order for us to get the majority number."

PH media research director Zainurizaman Mohram, 42, said that to get the majority seats, PH could choose to work with other parties such as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Warisan, and this could stabilise Malaysia's political landscape.

"But if Barisan Nasional teamed up with Pakatan Harapan, this could help us overcome issues brought about by race-card politics," he said.