Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance is dead: DAP

Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance is dead: DAP
Lim Guan Eng, fourth chief minister of Penang, Malaysia and secretary-general of Malaysia's opposition party Democratic Action Party (DAP).
PHOTO: BT

The Democratic Action Party (DAP) yesterday said the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance has ceased to exist, brought down by an Islamic law dispute with one of its PR partners.

The Chinese-based DAP blamed Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) for killing off the opposition alliance. But more significantly, the collapse left the third component party - jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) - in potentially dire straits.

Formed in April 2008, PR denied the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) its two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 2013 general election. It controls three states: Kelantan, Penang and Selangor.

DAP's secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said it was PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's unilateral decision to push for hudud, or Islamic law, and his party's decision to sever ties with DAP that led to the PR's collapse.

"Therefore, PR ceases to exist," Mr Lim said in a statement following a central executive committee meeting on Monday night.

Mr Lim, who is Penang's Chief Minister, also said his party would work with PKR and other parties that want to end BN's rule "to reshape and realign Malaysian politics with the aim of winning Putrajaya for the people".

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said the party's action was to recognise the current political reality. He added there was a need for a new political coalition based on principles, and not sheer power.

Dismissing the DAP's statement, PAS Youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz told reporters yesterday that the opposition alliance was still intact.

"DAP's decision will not dissolve the coalition," he stressed.

Following PAS' motion to sever ties with DAP early this month, Mr Lim asked PAS representatives to resign from their posts in the Penang state government or its agencies.

Yesterday, a DAP official said its representatives would quit their posts in the PAS-held Kelantan state government soon.

While Mr Lim did not call for PAS representatives to do the same in Selangor, whose Menteri Besar Azmin Ali is PKR's deputy president, he said DAP would support Mr Azmin "to reframe the state government with a new functioning coalition".

Selangor, the richest state in Malaysia, is deemed the jewel in the crown for PR.

The DAP-PAS fallout presents a dilemma for the PKR-led Selangor state government.

The party cannot form a majority in the 57-seat state assembly without both PAS and DAP.

It had wanted to mediate between the two feuding partners but DAP turned down its offer.

PKR issued a gag order on its leaders until the party came to a decision after an emergency meeting last night.

Selangor PAS leader Iskandar Abdul Samad meanwhile said his party would continue to strengthen PR in the state through meaningful consultation.

PAS strategist Zuhdi Marzuki, in a statement, called for the formation of a new political pact involving only Malay-Muslim parties, similar to one that PAS joined and was led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in the 1990s. It was disbanded after Tengku Razaleigh rejoined Umno in 1996.

"Now it is up to PKR which leads Selangor to decide whether it wants to continue with a coalition with PAS in PR or not," Dr Zuhdi said. "If PKR also withdraws from PR, then it is not impossible that the Selangor state government will become shaky."

asruls@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 17, 2015.
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