PKR-Amanah-Pribumi axis to wrestle Umno, PAS in GE14

 |Apr 9, 2017
PKR has concluded that going alone in GE14 could be fatal for the party.

The recent hospitalisation of PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was not in vain after all.

Someone whispered that a mini PKR supreme council meeting among those in Anwar inner circle was held near the “sickly” Wan Azizah’s hospital bed.

The much-publicised hospital opera may have been crafted to allow the jailed Anwar Ibrahim not only to visit his wife but also to sort out certain important political decisions for the future of PKR.

In that mini meeting during Anwar’s hospital visit, a source said it was decided that PKR would now work closely with Pribumi, led by Mahathir Mohamad, and Amanah formed by PAS splinter group as a united Malay opposition front to face Umno and PAS in the next general election (GE14).

The three Malay-based parties in the opposition bloc are said to have decided to use a single standard election logo for themselves in GE14 if Pakatan Harapan did not get to register in time.

The Rocket

One insider said that the DAP, on the other hand, was hoping that Pakatan Harapan would not be registered in time.

If Pakatan Harapan did not get to register in time, said the insider the DAP would be able to use its own ‘Rocket’ logo to contest in GE14, a symbol familiar with Chinese masses.

The DAP has always been against formal registration of the opposition coalitions since the days of Gagasan Rakyat in the early 1990s, right through Barisan Alternatif, Pakatan Rakyat and until now.

The Chinese-based party did not want to lose its ‘Rocket’ and Chinese identity by getting into a formal coalition with a single standard election symbol.

DAP is very confident that it would fare far better in GE14 with its Rocket logo.

DAP is said not that keen to register Pakatan Harapan as a formal coalition.

It’s over for Anwar

Anwar meantime came and went after visiting his wife at Al Islam Specialist Hospital in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

He has arrived at a conclusion that his political career was virtually over and that he would never become the prime minister ever.

Anwar has resigned to the fact that “it’s over” for him.

Thus, he wants the captain-less PKR to consolidate its political position among others in the opposition.

Anwar and his loyalists feel that on its own, PKR may even get slaughtered in GE14.

Moreover, Anwar and several PKR leaders, who met him at the hospital, agreed that PKR deputy president and Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali can’t be trusted.

They believe that Azmin would dance along with Mahathir Mohamad and even jump ship, especially if PKR does not fare well in GE14.

These factors had prompted PKR stalwarts to agree to unite with other Malay-based opposition parties under one election symbol.

The strategy is to promote and market a united opposition Malay force to the masses.

By going into GE14 as a united Malay force, the opposition parties believe that they can upstage Umno and PAS,” said a source familiar with the opposition politics.

Since PKR constitution does not allow non-members to contest under its logo, the Malay-based opposition parties may choose between the ‘Bunga Raya’ (or hibiscus) of Pribumi or ‘A’ of Amanah.

A safe bet would be Amanah’s logo because Anwar and co would have to swallow their pride to use the hibiscus.

The DAP candidates too may use Amanah’s logo if the Registrar of Societies finally decided to de-register the party due to its internal election fraud – considered the biggest in Malaysian electoral history.

Even former First Lady and Mahathir’s wife Siti Hasmah visited Wan Azizah at the hospital.

Strategy

The federal ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has 132 MPs, including Umno’s 88, in the current 222-seat parliamentary composition, followed by DAP with 36 MPs, PKR 28, PAS 14, Amanah six, PSM and Pribumi one each, and Warisan and independent two each.

With a united force, the Malay-based opposition parties are confident of capturing Putrajaya by reducing Umno parliamentary seats to below 50 and PAS to virtual zero.

With DAP confident of increasing its current MP seats of 36, Pakatan Harapan is confident that it can secure 100 and above federal seats, provided the opposition parties retain all their current seats.

That’s the goal outlined in Pakatan’s strategic papers, but a top Amanah leader said it was easier said than done.

“It’s going to be tough in all seats, especially in Malay heartlands. But we will campaign hard till the end to win,” he said.

Amanah is here to stay, as the leader pointed out that politics was a long term struggle.

Amanah would not perish or vanish after GE14 as claimed by critics even if the party failed to achieve its electoral objective this time.

“We will still keep on going. That’s politics … it’s a long-running process, not a short-term struggle,” said the leader.

Meanwhile, PAS and other smaller parties, and independent candidates as well are expected to contest in as many seats that would force multi-cornered fights all over the country.

Such multi-cornered duels will be to Barisan’s advantage as traditionally the coalition prevails in such contests – the most recent Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections have proven that.

PAS aims to position itself as the kingmaker in GE14.

PAS 

PAS, on the other hand, has decided not to waste its resources by focussing on winning all over the country.

It has decided to pool its resources and concentrate more in northern states of Kedah and to certain extent Perlis, and east coast states of Kelantan and Terengganu.

Of course, PAS will contest more seats all over the country in GE14 than the about 90 seats it contested in GE13.

But an insider said the party’s main targets were Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.

“If we can add Perlis, that’s a bonus,” he said, adding that PAS target was to increase its current parliamentary tally.

PAS also aims to put itself in a ‘kingmaker’ position, which means whichever coalition captures Putrajaya in GE14, it would need the Islamic-based party’s support to strengthen its grip on federal power.

The Islamic-based party is being expected to field more non-Muslim candidates this time around.

So all the parties have shrewdly strategised their tactical game plans to wrestle and slug it out with Umno-led Barisan Nasional in GE14, which could see a fierce battle for political supremacy in Malay heartlands.

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Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.