Time running out for opposition parties


The peninsula-based parties, in particular, must sort out their mess quickly

Robin Augustin, Free Malaysia Today

Despite what the prophets of doom are saying, it’s still not impossible for the opposition to achieve its objective of ousting Barisan Nasional from power in the next general election.

However, there has to be a quick resolution of differences between the opposition entities in Peninsular Malaysia, namely Pakatan Harapan, PAS and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

For starters, they have to decide on a single prime ministerial candidate. Right now, there’s no indication that they will agree on that. Bersatu Chairman Mahathir Mohamad says his party’s president, Muhyiddin Yassin, should assume the post, but Pakatan still wants its jailed leader, Anwar Ibrahim, to take the job and PAS has nominated its president, Abdul Hadi Awang.

Another, and perhaps more important, issue is the question of avoiding multi-corner fights in the election. While every observer of Malaysian politics knows that it’s impossible to defeat BN if most of the fights are multi-cornered, there seems to be no indication of any sort of compromise between the opposition parties to ensure straight fights.

Recently, Muhyiddin voiced confidence that his party could get PAS to agree to such a compromise, but PAS Election Director Mustafa Ali subsequently put a damper on things by stressing that his party would not work with DAP and Amanah, which make up two thirds of Pakatan.

This raises the question of how this cluster of parties can work together at all.

It’s no wonder that Sabah opposition leaders are ditching Pakatan for state-based platforms.

As the peninsula-based opposition parties continue to squabble over who gets to be PM and who wants to work with whom, Sabahan opposition leaders are already getting organised and making their agendas and plans known.

Pakatan must take a good look at itself and ask why so many of its leaders in Sabah have quit their parties in favour of parties with fewer resources. In particular, it must ask itself whether it has paid heed to the sentiments of the grassroots in Sabah and Sarawak, two states that BN has rightly claimed as its “fixed deposits”.

Time is running out for the opposition parties to sort themselves out before GE14.

Opposition leaders in Peninsular Malaysia must quickly sort out the mess so that they can start work on seat negotiations with the new parties in Sabah as well as Sarawak. Otherwise, they are dreaming if they think they can win GE14.