Anwar's announcement raises questions over PKR's ties with PAS

PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's announcement that PKR is working out a new and strengthened political coalition and will be partnering with "progressive forces" has raised questions over its working relations with PAS.

Anwar has named Gerakan Harapan Baru (GBH) as among the groups which PKR will work together with, saying that this coming together of a wide range of groups committed to reform and change will offer a genuine democratic and just alternative to the people.

However, his message issued through his lawyers made no mention of PKR's relationship with PAS.

While PAS remains cautious about the statement, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has "confirmed" that the Islamist party will not be in the new coalition.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said his party had not given any thought about this latest development as it was still "too early to decide or react".

"PKR can work with us and GHB. But this is politics and eventually it has to choose between partnering with PAS or GHB. PKR has to pick either one to be its partner in politics," he said when contacted here yesterday.

Takiyuddin said it was premature to make a stand on whether it would continue to work with PKR or go on its own should its partner find an ally in GHB.

"We will have to see if GHB will truly exist. As of now, it is only a proposal.

"We can always propose but whether a plan materialises is a different matter," he added.

Formed by PAS' progressive leaders ousted in the June party elections, GHB is led by its former deputy president Mohamad Sabu and former central committee members including Khalid Samad, Dr Hatta Ramli and Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang confirmed that discussions between his party, PKR and Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB) to form a new coalition were ongoing without PAS.

"Pakatan Rakyat died because of PAS. It was unable to keep its word and is not trustworthy," said Lim to reporters at the Parliament open house here.

He also said the new coalition would be announced in the nearest time.

"There needs to be a new vehicle to carry the hopes and needs of the people and that it can continue to mean something," he said.

The name of the new coalition, according to Lim, was still not confirmed, adding that it "could be called the new PR or PR2.0 or Harapan Rakyat, whatever it is".

PKR vice-president Tian Chua said it would still want to work with PAS and DAP, adding that the idea of working with progressive forces was to further strengthen the Opposition coalition.

"We are not sidelining PAS. We only want to work with individuals or groups that share our goals and objectives," he said.