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Thursday, February 28, 2013

'No decision, so no row over Anwar being PM-in-waiting'


PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim's position as Pakatan Rakyat's prime minister-in-waiting is "unannounced, but yet so undisputable", a senior PAS leader has been quoted saying.

PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli quoted the PAS leader as saying this when asked, during a a debate last night, if it was certain that Anwar would become the next prime minister in event Pakatan Rakyat wins the next general election.

NONEThis was in view of dissenting voices from within the Islamic party that appeared to prefer PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang or Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for the top post.

In contrast, both DAP and PKR have openly pledged support for Anwar to become the prime minister.

"I don't think it matters whether we announce Anwar as prime minister or not. The whole premise of political coalition, cooperation, and vision set out for the country since 1999 was based on having Anwar Ibrahim as a prime minister," Rafizi said.

However, he has refused to disclose the PAS leader's identity, "out of respect".

Speaking to reporters after the debate, Rafizi said Pakatan Rakyat leaders are unanimous is supporting Anwar as prime minister, but opinions differed on whether to formally announce it.

For one camp, he said, naming the prime minister-in-waiting would prove that Pakatan Rakyat was ready to for the new government, while the other camp feared that such a move could backfire.

"It might unnecessarily rub off the wrong way with some voters because you may appear to be so arrogant and so confident, yet you don't actually know that you are going to win.

"When the election is very close, it may actually backfire, so much that we may lose bigger," he said.

‘Disagreement a non-issue'

However, Rafizi said disagreement was a non-issue, for the Pakatan Rakyat members would not have been able to announce their manifesto together had there been cracks in the coalition, because agreeing on the manifesto's contents was tougher than agreeing on who would be the future prime minister.

Earlier, during the forum, Rafizi was also dismissive when debate moderator Wan Ismail Wan Jan asked Rafizi if Pakatan Rakyat would simply disintegrate if Anwar were to die a sudden death.

He said the coalition would indeed suffer a setback because Anwar was its "most sellable product" with an unmatched ability to deliver Pakatan Rakyat's message to the crowd.

"But will Pakatan Rakyat disintegrate? Pakatan Rakyat is built on a foundation of understanding for the same vision for the country. We are glued by a constitution that BN does not have. We have sets of ideas and programmes that we have signed together and committed together.

NONE"With or without Anwar, this country will change. It is a matter of time. It is only that, without Anwar, we have to work doubly hard. With Anwar, it is already in the bag," Rafizi said.

However, his debate opponent, MCA vice-president Gan Ping Siew (left), disagreed and viewed PAS as a wildcard. Gan questioned whether PAS would remain in the coalition without Anwar.

As an example, he pointed out that PAS had previously expressed willingness to work with Umno, and its Syura Council had dissented on Pakatan Rakyat's stance on the use of ‘Allah' as the Malay language translation for ‘God' in the Bible.

This is in part because PAS contests in seats located in the Malay heartland, the deputy youth and sports minister said.

"The Chinese community and non-Muslims were very happy that PAS had changed to become very professional, modern, inclusive, open and introduced the concept of welfare state.

"But why, towards the end of 2011, it suddenly brought up hudud again? It is for political survival.

"PAS has suddenly realised that the Malay voters are going back to Umno and that it is contesting against Umno, not against MCA or Gerakan. Its territory is shrinking," Gan said.

‘Individual parties still play a big role'


He added that Malaysia's parliamentary system was not a two-party system but a multi-party system with two coalitions trying to compete with one another, with the individual parties still play a big role by breaking away and defecting to the other side for their own survival or to further their political agenda.

One example was Parti Bersatu Sabah, which left BN before and then returned.

Gan argued that Malaysian political parties could have a healthy competition on policy issues only if PAS "becomes so irrelevant that even Muslims find its theocratic ambitions unsuitable for Malaysia".

Now , he said, Malaysians we have BN on one hand. While it may be very communal in nature, and you have Pakatan Rakyat, in which PAS is a wildcard.

"PAS has openly said it: it is ready to work with any political party that is going to help PAS implement its theocratic ambitions," Gan said.

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