Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim attends a forum with the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Journalists Club at the Hilton Petaling Jaya September 28, 2022. — Picture by Hari Anggara
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has acknowledged the concerns of some within Pakatan Harapan (PH) over the possible inclusion of the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) into the coalition.
Speaking at a dinner and forum event by the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Journalists Club (KLS) last night, Anwar said such sentiments were entirely normal given the coalition’s history of being betrayed.
He also called for those in PH to respect the ongoing discussions and negotiations between Muda and PH.
“Let the process, respect the process. Now there are concerns expressed by many, not only PKR. Amanah Youth and some in the DAP, but this is normal. It is a democratic set-up. You don’t expect people to agree entirely, particularly because we have history.
“We have had a history of betrayals and we have seen inconsistent decisions by some party leaders. So there are concerns and I think it is only fair to allow these processes to proceed, and I think in another few weeks, they will come to report to the (PH) Presidential Council and we will decide accordingly,” he said.
Anwar said when the United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) applied to join PH, it took months for the party to be vetted and to obtain a commitment it would support PH agendas and previous key decisions.
“I don’t think we should be unnecessarily negative towards this because there should be a process that we should follow,” he added.
Early this month, Muda said it wanted to meet the PH leadership officially, to align goals and aspirations for the 15th general elections (GE15).
Muda deputy president Amira Aisya Abd Aziz in a statement said that the party had received severe criticism ever since it announced its alliance with PH and wanted to set the record straight by having an official meeting.
Amira’s statement came after it was reported that some within PKR ranks said they were reluctant to accept Muda as part of PH for GE15.
News portal The Malaysian Insight reported that PKR Youth leaders and members were particularly wary after what transpired in the Johor state election.
They are said to hold Muda responsible for the defeat of the Anwar-led party in Larkin, which the latter had been confident of capturing. The seat went to Umno.
PKR Youth chief Adam Adli Abdul Halim reportedly said that the decision to cooperate with Muda must be based on the willingness of the grassroots, but with lessons from Larkin to be mindful of too.
Echoing Adam, PKR Youth strategy director Bryan Ng Yih Miin said that there were various reasons for the party’s reluctance to accept Muda as part of the Opposition’s biggest coalition.
Ng reportedly claimed that Muda has been openly talking about contesting Petaling Jaya which incumbent MP, PKR’s Maria Chin Abdullah, secured in GE14.
“There must be a closed-door discussion on things like this, not openly put on Twitter. There’s no maturity from them when it comes to things like this.
“In Larkin, they went against PKR. That particular seat, before nomination, had been agreed for PKR, but then they suddenly made their own decision to contest against us.
“You can’t make a unilateral decision and tell the whole world without consulting us if we are to work together,” Ng, who is also Petaling Jaya PKR Youth chief, was quoted as saying.
Muda is no stranger to working with PH. Apart from the Johor state election, they have joined forces for countless demonstrations.
A fissure in the relationship emerged after Muda decided to go against PKR in Larkin for the Johor state polls despite agreeing to cooperate over the seat to defeat Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Barisan Nasional (BN). Some in PKR see this as the reason for Umno candidate Mohd Hairi Mad Shah’s win.