DAP’s apparent refusal to drop its push for Warisan president Shafie Apdal to become prime minister as an alternative has rekindled old wounds, particularly in PKR.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng yesterday repeated the proposal for Shafie to become Pakatan Harapan and its allies’ prime ministerial candidate if PKR president Anwar Ibrahim is unable to court sufficient support.
The response from PKR at various levels ranged from diplomatic reactions to a sharp rebuke, but the message was that such calls do not bode well for the friendship between the two parties.
“Focus on the Sabah election instead of racing to break the spirit of friendship (setiakawan),” PKR’s Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said on Twitter.
However, Sabah PKR information chief Razeef Rakimi was more blunt, saying that if Lim cannot remain true as a friend, that it would be best to dissolve the alliance comprising DAP, PKR and Amanah.
“If he no longer has the spirit of friendship then just dissolve Pakatan Harapan,” he said.
The proposal has met with hesitation among some DAP leaders including its Bandar Baru Klang assemblyperson Teng Chang Khim, who is also an exco in the PKR-led Selangor government.
Teng, who called Lim’s position a “personal opinion”, said on Facebook: “I disagree, but this is also my personal opinion”.
Some DAP insiders have suggested that the party may again push for Shafie as an alternative if he is able to secure a landslide victory in the Sabah election, which would put the Warisan leader on a stronger footing.
However, the adverse reaction from PKR may force the DAP to think twice.
Shafie is leading the charge for Warisan Plus, comprising Warisan, Upko and Harapan, in the Sabah election which was triggered after former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman unsuccessfully tried to pull off a coup.
Shafie outmanoeuvred Musa after securing a dissolution of the state assembly, paving the way for fresh polls. Campaigning started on Sept 12 and polling day is on Sept 26.
Shafie as an alternative prime ministerial candidate was first mooted by Lim at a meeting between DAP, Amanah, Warisan and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s group, which is now operating under the Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) platform.
The proposal was intended to break a deadlock between Anwar and Mahathir as neither could accept the other as the prime ministerial candidate.
However, the DAP and Amanah later wavered on the proposal as PKR responded negatively.
The fact that PKR was not invited to the June meeting also further strained relations in Harapan at a time of heightened tension, so much so that PKR issued a gag order on its leaders to prevent more quarrels.
DAP and Amanah have been frustrated at Anwar’s inability to court the support of MPs in East Malaysia, particularly in Sarawak.
The frustration was compounded by the fact that Anwar was not able to control his MPs with the party’s then deputy president Azmin Ali leading a group of 10 MPs, including himself, to defect.
Shafie, an East Malaysian, is seen as more likely to win support from his fellow MPs there.
The Harapan-led federal government collapsed in late February after Bersatu pulled out of the coalition, along with a group of PKR defectors.
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in as the new prime minister after he formed the new Perikatan Nasional government by co-opting BN, GPS, PAS, PBS and Star.
Despite Muhyiddin’s fragile majority, Harapan and its allies have been unable to regain power.
Harapan has 91 MPs while its allies have 17, bringing the total to 108. However, it is still four seats short of a majority in the Dewan Rakyat. (Malaysiakini)