Pakatan-BN grassroots hostility hurting unity govt, says ex-MIC veep

(The Malaysian Insight) – THE road ahead for the unity government will remain rocky as long as the grassroots supporters of Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional are unable to work together, former MIC vice-president Sivarraajh Chandra said.

The senator said there appeared to be a disconnect between the top leadership of the coalition and their base supporters.

It is important for the PH and BN to resolve this before they take on Perikatan Nasional, added the senator.

“Party leaders in the unity government and their grassroots are not on the same page. The top leadership wants to work together but the grassroots do no accept that. They are split in opinion, commitment and ideology,” Sivarraajh told The Malaysian Insight.

PH and BN set aside their long-standing rivalry to form the unity government after the last general election.

Overnight, rivals became allies, leaving their supporters with a new, irreconcilable reality, said Sivarraajh.

“PH and BN were at loggerheads for years. And then suddenly, you expect BN members to campaign for PH and vice-versa.

“It will not happen. Some feuds and grudges went on for years and will not change. It will be tough to convince the grassroots.

“For example, PH leaders had severely criticised and accused Umno, MIC and MCA of so much wrongdoing and now they expect the members to vote for them. That won’t happen,” he said.

Sivarraajh said this when asked to respond to MCA’s decision not to support DAP in the May 11 Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election. MIC was also reluctant to campaign for PH but later changed its mind after a phone call with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Former MIC vice-president Sivarraajh Chandra says the road ahead for the unity government will remain rocky as long as the grassroots supporters of Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional are unable to work together. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, April 27, 2024.

A DAP candidate will represent PH while Bersatu will stand on a PN ticket in the by-election.

Kuala Kubu Baharu has been a DAP seat since 2013. It was a MCA stronghold prior to that.

Sivarraajh, a former MIC youth chief, urged the parties in PH and BN to resolve their problems among themselves amicably rather than making them public.

He said public spats would further dissuade members from working together as a coalition

“We see leaders squabblinh publicly and takinh aim at each other even though they are in the same coalition. This is unhealthy and it’s not going to bring any benefit.

“Leaders need to set good examples for party members and grassroots to follow,” he said.

Sivarraajh was referring to the actions of Umno Youth chief Akmal Saleh, who had called Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming “stupid”.

At the Umno general assembly last year, Akmal had demanded an apology from DAP for insulting Umno when they were rivals.

He said that was necessary to win over the Malays and Umno supporters.

DAP leaders, meanwhile, have harped on MCA’s alleged failures when in government.

If the trend were to continue, Sivarraajh warned that the unity coalition would face difficulties in the next general election.

Sivarraajh quit MIC last June to focus on his responsibilities as a senator and leader of the Indian community without hindrance, “especially from the MIC leadership”.