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Monday, July 27, 2020

Amanah and DAP nudge PKR on 'way forward' to retake Putrajaya


Amanah and DAP today issued a lengthy joint-statement in what appears to be an attempt to nudge PKR on the way forward to recapture Putrajaya amid a prolonged impasse.
The two parties said they have, for months, tirelessly acted as a bridge amid icy relations between PKR and Bersatu rebels led by Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who also has Warisan on his side.
They reiterated the idea that either PKR president Anwar Ibrahim or Warisan president Shafie Apdal should have the opportunity to become the prime ministerial candidate and that the grand coalition comprising PKR, Amanah, DAP, Bersatu rebels and Warisan must be kept alive.
The joint-statement maintained a diplomatic tone and repeatedly emphasised Amanah and DAP have not abandoned Anwar but at the same time nudged PKR from its uncompromising position that Anwar should be the sole prime ministerial candidate for the opposition coalition.
Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, in the joint-statement, made the case that the prime ministerial candidate should not be a hindrance to Harapan Plus regaining control of Putrajaya.
The full statement is as follow:
“The way forward is to allow Anwar the first opportunity to form a government and if he fails, then Shafie should be afforded a similar choice, both based on the solid support of 109 MPs.”
Since the Sheraton Coup by former Pakatan Harapan government MPs who betrayed the people’s electoral mandate of 2018, Amanah and DAP have worked tirelessly to reclaim the people’s mandate, acting as the bridge to bring together the five opposition parties forming the original Harapan Plus.
Amanah and DAP are guided by the following key principles:
First, the solidarity of all anti-Perikatan Nasional parties and forces, which translate into 109 MPs who opposed the undemocratic and arbitrary change of the parliamentary speaker, is crucial;
Second, the question of who to become the next prime minister should not be a hindrance to reclaiming the people’s mandate; staying in the opposition just because we fail to find a compromise for the post of the prime minister is not acceptable.
Failure to agree on the prime ministerial candidate gives the impression that the obsession with the post of prime minister is more important than the people’s 2018 electoral mandate;
Third, the Harapan general election manifesto of 2018 should remain as the governing basis of the Harapan Plus government.
As a matter of record, Amanah and DAP gave our full support to Anwar (below) as a candidate for the prime minister post on Feb 26.
On Feb 28 and 29, PKR, Amanah and DAP re-established a coalition relationship with Mahathir and supported him as prime minister in our effort to prevent an unelected government.
Between March and May 2020, Amanah and DAP advocated wholeheartedly for the rebuilding of the grand coalition that won the 2018 general election, namely, PKR, DAP, Amanah, Warisan and Mahathir’s faction of Bersatu.
On May 30, after a long impasse, the Harapan presidential council decided that there would be two options:
Option 1 – Anwar as prime minister and Mukhriz Mahathir as deputy prime minister;
Option 2 – Mahathir as prime minister and Anwar as deputy prime minister, with the transition of power in six months’ time.
Many intense negotiation sessions were held until June 19 when PKR officially turned down Option 2.
In the spirit of looking for ways to break the impasse, Amanah, DAP and Warisan leaders and Mahathir's group held an informal meeting to explore further options on June 25 at Rumah Tetamu Sabah, Kuala Lumpur.
Mahathir explained to the meeting that he did not intend to be prime minister for the third time.
He was offering himself as a candidate for the post of the prime minister to help bring down the unelected PN government and to restore the rightfully elected government.
It was in this context that Guan Eng made the suggestion, supported by Mohamad, that Shafie Apdal (below) as the third candidate may help to solve the impasse between Mahathir and Anwar.
Mahathir graciously agreed to the suggestion of Shafie as a candidate for the prime minister post in just two minutes after it was mooted by Amanah and DAP.
Mahathir reiterated that it was not about him becoming prime minister, it was about saving the nation and restoring the people’s mandate.
Apart from helping to reduce the animosity of PKR towards Mahathir, Shafie would be a historic selection as this would be the first time that a leader from Sabah or Sarawak is proposed as prime minister.
Amanah and DAP leaders who attended the informal meeting later informed Mahathir and other participants that the new Shafie option would have to be brought back to the respective party leadership for thorough discussion and subsequently to be discussed at Harapan presidential council.
We reiterate that the 109 MPs should be the basis of reclaiming the government, not any lesser groupings of only 91 Harapan MPs without Warisan and Mahathir's Bersatu or only 71 MPs without PKR.
Amanah and DAP share the deep sense of disillusionment among Malaysians that even with 109 seats in Parliament standing firm against PN despite the offering of ministerial and government-linked company positions, we fail to reclaim the people’s mandate.
We disagree with the idea that Harapan could negotiate with anyone with its 91 seats, to the exclusion of Warisan and Mahathir’s group.
We also disagree with the idea that any change could happen with 71 MPs, without the participation of PKR’s 38 MPs.
We are of the view that whether it is Anwar or Shafie, based on 109 MPs, whoever gets the requisite number to get across the line of 112 MPs, should be given the opportunity to lead the coalition government as prime minister.
There are those who say that since the opposition could not resolve the question of prime ministership, we should just stay in the opposition to wait until the next general election. We beg to differ.
Any formula of winning the next general elections alone as Harapan or without Harapan would be difficult.
Only Harapan Plus involving Harapan, Warisan and Mahathir's Bersatu is the winning combination for the next general elections.
This unified force should be the basic premise, not a divided or diminished opposition grouping.
Further, giving up the effort to reclaim government is not only irresponsible but by itself a betrayal of the voters’ choice on May 9, 2018.
By not trying to win back the government as quickly as possible, it would serve only to legitimise the Sheraton Coup, an unelected government, all its undemocratic policies and more importantly, its lack of political will to promote transparency and fight corruption.
This travesty of justice should not be allowed to happen.
The way forward is to allow Anwar the first opportunity to form the government and if he fails, then Shafie should be afforded a similar choice, both based on the solid support of 109 MPs.
In the meantime, the 109 Harapan Plus MPs and the five parties, namely, Amanah, DAP, PKR, Warisan and Mahathir’s faction of Bersatu, should work very closely together to play the role of a highly effective and united opposition, with the objective of:
• Inspiring hope in a dark time of political, economic and Covid-19 crises;
• Building trust and national unity among all Malaysians in the face of the divisive PN;
• Exposing scandals such as 1MDB and championing clean government with integrity;
• Strengthening economic security and economic solidarity among Malaysians in the face of the greatest economic crisis in generations which was triggered by the Covid-19 crisis;
• Offering policy prescriptions and alternatives based on experience, expertise and competence gained during Harapan's tenure in office. - Mkini

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