Muda not good enough for PH?

24 Mar 2023 11:12am
(From left) Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Associate Professor Dr Mohd Yusri Ibrahim and Assistant Professor Dr Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar
(From left) Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Associate Professor Dr Mohd Yusri Ibrahim and Assistant Professor Dr Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar

SHAH ALAM - Several months have passed since the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) applied to join Pakatan Harapan (PH), but there has yet to be a decision.

Previously, promises were made for the application by the party led by Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to be discussed at the PH presidential council level, but Muda seemed to have been left hanging by the coalition led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

In fact, there was a meeting between the Muar MP and Anwar who was PKR president as well as the top leadership of PH, but no positive outcome came from the meeting.

The question was why PH would take such a long time to come up with an answer as Muda has stated its willingness and loyalty to the coalition and would politically cooperate with them during the 15th General Election (GE15).

Syed Saddiq when contacted by Sinar Premium said he would leave it to the PH leadership to provide a response.

"Muda has sent three letters to PH regarding the issue because the application was made in August.

"Previously we were informed that we could not be placed in PH due to the election as the Home Minister's position was held by another minister (Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin) and there may be a possibility for it to be delayed until after the election," he said.

The Muda president said other than sending letters, the party obtained the date to meet PH secretary-seneral Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, but it was postponed.

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Asked about how much longer Muda would stay patient awaiting for an answer, he said the matter will be decided internally.

"We only want answers regarding this issue so that it would be easy for both parties to ensure a final decision was made over the matter that has been dragged for so long," he said.

He said Muda wanted to focus on the discussions with PH and currently there were no negotiations with any other political coalitions.

Since there was no answer that Muda expected, the question arised whether PH felt that Muda was not significant enough to join the coalition compared to other parties?

Ilham Centre chief researcher Associate Professor Dr Mohd Yusri Ibrahim said he was of the view that PH was likely considering the pros and cons of Muda's involvement in the coalition.

Yusri said among the considerations were how much value would Muda be able to provide in terms of support and voters.

"If Muda had the potential to attract support from new groups, they could greatly improve their chances," he said.

Any coalition would consider the cost and benefits when a new party applied to join especially with the upcoming state elections.

"In this case the major cost is PH being forced to provide or sacrifice some seats to be contested by the new party even though the division of seats among component parties were already complicated.

"The same goes to the distribution of political appointees when winning and controlling the government must be considered from components of the new party," he said.

Yusri said the current political scenario was beneficial for coalitions to have more friends rather than enemies.

"The same goes for Muda to find a coalition that can continue to stand on its own for the current political landscape.

"For political survival in the state elections, it would be hard for Muda to win if it contests alone. They must explore cooperation with other coalitions if they are rejected by PH," he said.

Echoing Yusri's view, Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM) Political Science Assistant Professor Dr Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar said PH might have evaluated its experience working with Muda in a series of elections which were not as fruitful as it hoped.

Based on experiences during the Johor state election and GE15, Muda was unable to prove its capabilities to support PH gain support and had also failed to attract youth voters.

Muda gained its sole victory in the Johor state election when its secretary-general Amira Aisya Abd Aziz managed to win the Puteri Wangsa state seat while Syed Saddiq continued to dominate in the Muar Parliament that gained PH's support.

"However, Muda was simply seen as riding on PH's popularity to gain voters' support," Mohar said.

He did not deny the fact that if a party such as Muda joined PH, it would only clutter the coalition.

Although PH Amanah vice president Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof was not directly involved in the discussion on Muda's application, he said PH was an inclusive party prioritising unity and did not put aside any party.

"PH has proven that it could cooperate with Umno/BN for the sake of unity and I think the issue regarding Muda's involvement is best given to the PH presidential council and the supreme leadership.

"I am not involved directly in the discussions, but I think that one of the considerations is the effectiveness of the involvement of youths in the government in addition to technical issues such as management and tactics," he said.