Loke: Apology unnecessary, DAP will attend Pakatan meet if PAS turns up


(Malay Mail Online) – DAP dismissed today a suggestion that Lim Guan Eng apologise to PAS for the uproar over the “third vote” issue, saying both parties should just iron out their differences at the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leadership council meeting.

DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke said there was no need for Lim to apologise as DAP “will never and has never succumbed to pressures from any party”.

“The question of whether Lim needs to apologise… does not even arise,” he said in a statement here.

Loke was responding to a report today in Chinese newspaper Sin Chew Daily that quoted a PAS leadership source as saying that Lim should say sorry to PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali when the PR council meets next.

PR de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently said the council should hold a meeting before February 10 to iron out their differences over the third vote issue.

Loke said today that as decided during the DAP’s last central executive committee meeting, the party’s leaders would only attend the proposed PR council meet if PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang agrees to be present.

This, he said, is to prevent PAS and Hadi from later objecting to decisions made by the council.

Loke also stressed today that the entire DAP leadership stands firmly behind their party secretary-general Lim in pushing for the restoration of local council polls or the “third vote”.

He pointed out again that the DAP’s stand in the matter was always made known to PAS leaders.

“We would like to repeat our position that all the efforts made by the Penang government towards achieving this objective (restoring the third vote) have been duly informed by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali, who never before recorded their objections,” Loke said.

“The objective to restore local government elections is also clearly in line with the agenda and joint policy of Pakatan Rakyat,” he insisted.

The Seremban MP also reminded PAS that even some of its own members have spoken out in support of the “third vote”.

PAS and DAP have been trading barbs recently over the issue of restoring local government polls, which the latter party has proposed that all PR-led states support.

In his response to the DAP recently, Hadi said the third vote could worsen racial inequality nationwide with development in the Chinese-dominated urban centres outstripping those in the Malay-centric countryside.

PAS has also accused DAP of acting unilaterally in seeking to restore local council elections, in an apparent retaliation to the latter’s vehement attacks over the Islamist party’s hudud ambition.

Rebutting the claims, however, Lim has insisted that his party’s intentions were conveyed to PAS at the PR leadership council meetings and accused the Islamist leadership of being “dishonest” in not voicing its opposition then.

The remark drew fury from PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali who challenged Lim to an open debate, saying he would prove who was “lying”.