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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

‘Big tent’: Rafizi needs to be pragmatic, say analysts


Newly elected PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli needs to be realistic in his political strategies for the 15th general election, said political analysts.

Analyst Azmi Hassan said the former Pandan MP needs to be pragmatic when holding the party’s deputy post because BN would have an easy path in the 15th general election if the ‘big tent’ concept were not actualised.

“In this case, Rafizi is too idealistic in his political strategy in rejecting the ‘big tent’.

“Inevitably, the 'big tent' concept is needed, where Pakatan Harapan needs to work together with other opposition groups.

“Political ideology is important. But as said earlier, Rafizi needs to be pragmatic, not too idealistic to reject cooperation because the opposition should be in one tent, regardless of whether the (other) opposition parties have different ideals from PKR or Harapan.

“If the ‘big tent’ concept is not 100 percent realised, then BN will definitely get an easy route," he told Malaysiakini.

The ‘big tent’ approach is a proposal submitted by a top Harapan leader that tried to unite opposition parties to go against the current government consisting of BN and Perikatan Nasional.

For Rafizi, the ‘big tent’ approach is like finding a ‘new tent’, rather than solving an existing problem.

Rafizi previously argued that PKR could not work with Bersatu, a party that is considered a traitor to PKR, because of its role in collapsing the Harapan-led government through the Sheraton Move in 2020.

Prioritising party’s interests

Azmi, who is a former lecturer at University Teknologi Malaysia, said he was confident that Rafizi would be more pragmatic upon becoming deputy president.

“When holding that position, one needs to be pragmatic. One needs to put behind the importance of self-principles.

“(They) have to prioritise the principles and ideology of the party’s interests first,” he said.

Rafizi was the PKR deputy presidential candidate during the PKR election in 2018 but lost narrowly to Mohamed Azmin Ali, who has since defected to Bersatu.

Rafizi withdrew from political activities following the previous party elections to focus on his business.

Yesterday, he won against PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

Meanwhile, Academy Science of Malaysia fellow Shamsul Amri Baharuddin said although Rafizi got the mandate from PKR members and won big in the party election, he could not make so many changes in the party in the near future because Anwar Ibrahim was still leading PKR and Harapan.

“Rafizi's victory brings new hope to PKR supporters, not to Harapan,” he told Malaysiakini.

Shamsul said realistically, Anwar will accept Rafizi's ideas if there are views expressed through discussions in PKR and later with Harapan allies.

"Rafizi is Anwar's protege [...] raised in the world of politics under his umbrella and patronage. The politics of Malay patronage is still very strong, that is, obedience to its patrons and protectors,” he said. - Mkini

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