Opposition’s loss if it rejects big tent; Umno-led BN to become stronger

Zainal Epi, Malay Mail Online

Malaysia political scene is no longer about one single united Opposition against an Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) but rather several “disunited Opposition parties” against BN.

PKR does not seem to want the big tent concept that swept Pakatan Harapan (PH) into power in the 2018 general election.

Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin’s quitting Bersatu created an air of distrust towards the party and its leadership which gave the picture of a ship without direction struggling to steer itself to safety.

She has landed in Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) which is “crawling into the vicious political mainstream.” Bersatu is now left wondering whether the other 10 MPs from PKR who jumped together with her and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to Bersatu may do the same.

Minus Azmin who seems to be comfortable in Bersatu, the rest are probably waiting for the right time to act which will then make the party less relevant.

The coming general election will probably be the “Waterloo” for several opposition parties if they do not work together under one big tent.

Bersatu is weakened and may become the weakest link in Perikatan Nasional (PN) — a coalition of parties comprising Bersatu, PAS, Sabah Solidarity Party (STAR), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan).

Rafizi Ramli, who recently won the PKR deputy president post, also opposes the big tent concept so the current Opposition alliance of Pakatan Harapan (PH) may only consist of DAP and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).

This means the political equation that voters are used to — which was a united Opposition against Umno-led BN — no longer holds as each opposition party goes for a free-for-all battle.

PBM president Larry Sng and Zuraida will lead PBM while PKR may also go their own way if Rafizi has anything to do about it while Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) is also on its own.

This is despite PBM losing its deposits in the Johor state election while PKR performed poorly in the Melaka and Johor state elections.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) is also on its own since he seems to have lost trust in the Opposition leaders while Bersatu only has PAS to hang on to.

Pejuang made its maiden appearance in the Johor state election and lost deposits for the 42 state seats it contested while Bersatu won just two seats despite its president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin having once been Johor MB and prime minister of Malaysia for 17 months.

PAS which lost all its seats in the Melaka and Johor state elections is praying hard that Umno does not dissolve Muafakat Nasional (MN), a platform both parties set up to unite “like-minded Malays.” Looking at the present uncharted pattern of the political scene for Opposition parties and parties aligned with the current PN, no one party seems to have a good footing except for BN ones.

Even those who are automatically registered as voters — those who are 18 and above plus those who have never voted before — may not help shift the positions of these parties in any way.

With their votes which amount to more than seven million, these voters are supposedly the lifeline of some parties but this may not be the case because the voters may opt for parties with proven track records.