Pakatan Rakyat must delay what it cannot agree on, says Hadi

Written by Chua Sue-Ann, The Edge   

In unveiling Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) joint policies today, PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang reminded the young Opposition alliance to delay what it cannot agree on and keep in mind its larger political goals.

In his opening speech here today, Abdul Hadi told PR to take heed of the leadership rift plaguing Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties, such as MCA, MIC and PPP.

“Put forward what we can agree on, be patient and put on hold what we disagree on.

“We cannot rest on short-term plans only because political struggles has to be long-term, not just to win, but to fill the victory.

“I believe the discussions here today are more geared towards filling the victory,” Hadi told some 2,000 delegates, observers and leaders in attendance.

PR’s common policy statement is widely seen as an attempt to prevent future squabbles between its partners, particularly on prickly issues that involve an Islamic state, religious conversions and local government elections.

Abdul Hadi also sought to reaffirm his party’s commitment to the PR coalition after the proposed PAS-Umno unity talks had threatened to strain ties with its PR partners.

“PAS wants to prove that it can berpakat (discuss) and be loyal to Pakatan Rakyat,” Hadi said.

The Marang member of parliament also issued a rallying call for DAP, PKR and PAS to strengthen each party’s membership and structure to ensure that good candidates can be offered during polls.

During his fiery 20-minute speech, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also acknowledged compromise in drafting the joint policy, saying that the policy “certainly cannot satisfy everybody”.

DAP had wanted to include local government elections as part of the PR policy but had agreed on phrasing it as “strengthening local government democracy”, Lim said.

“This compromise is a good sign that the cooperation within Pakatan Rakyat is based on discussion and negotiations,” said Lim, who is also Penang Chief Minister.

PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim meanwhile touted PR’s inaugral convention as the coalition’s efforts to heed the “call of the rakyat who made the wise decision during the political tsunami of March 8”.

“This is not merely a political party but a political movement, a best movement demanding change and reform,” Anwar said.

The former deputy prime minister also reminded PR members that the struggle was not merely against “Umno’s narrow racial politics”, but also to forge a genuine fellowship between people.

Anwar’s speech emphasised unity and equality between the races, and included a pledge to fight for women’s rights.