After big win, a summit for Pakatan leaders

By Neville Spykerman (The Malaysian Insider)

Buoyed by a convincing win in the Kuala Terengganu by-election, all five Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state chief ministers are scheduled to meet together, for the first time, in Alor Star, today, together with other leaders, to map out a future for the still-fledgling political alliance.

The PR meeting is expected to work out strategies on how the five states can cooperate economically and politically, while also laying down the groundwork for a more cohesive and formal coalition.

These include common policy and strategies to take on contentious issues like hudud, which saw DAP and Pas at loggerheads with each other in the run-up to the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

But yesterday’s victory for Pas will give the PR alliance a boost and momentum which is likely to see its leaders work towards stronger cooperation.

The five heads of administration – Kelantan Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Kedah MB Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak, Perak MB Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng – will be joined by other PR big wigs.

Among them will be Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

PR insiders described the top-level summit as “long overdue”.

They down played the timing of the meeting, being held just over 10 months after the March 8 political Tsunami, adding that this was the first time all five-chief ministers were free to come together.

PKR’s Elizabeth Wong, who will be among exco members from the five states attending the meeting, said determining common policies on issues – such as tourism, investments and management – will be on the agenda.

However she said the issue of hudud is not on the agenda and will be left to other forums.

“Sunday’s meeting will focus on issues affecting all five states, such as waste management, which the Federal Government proposes to take over, and finding a common stand.”

PR executive secretary Shabrimi Sidek said the meeting will be hosted by the Kedah Menteri Besar, in Dewan Seri Mentaloon, which is at his official residence.

The meeting will start at 3pm and will last till 11 in the evening.