SUBANG JAYA: A candidate for prime minister and a clear stand against hudud law are some of the grey areas that Pakatan Rakyat must decide on if it wants to win federal power in the next general election (GE14), a top leader of the opposition pact said.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Pakatan’s choice for prime minister as well as a united position against hudud law are crucial if the coalition hopes to win over moderate Malaysians.
He said there should not be a repeat of the Selangor menteri besar imbroglio in August this year, when Pakatan parties fought with each other over removing and replacing former menteri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
“We must present a coherent and consistent policy agenda that is convincing to the middle ground as the partisan bases of each of the Pakatan Rakyat parties can only get us so far.
“Let me be frank. There can be no repeat of the Selangor menteri besar crisis and all its consequences of public disunity on display,” Guan Eng said in his keynote address at the party’s 2014 national conference yesterday.
Guan Eng’s call comes after one of the coalition’s most fractious years which saw Pakatan almost torn apart over the issue of who would replace Abdul Khalid as Selangor menteri besar and Kelantan PAS’ attempts to pass a law to allow it to enforce syariah criminal laws in Kelantan.
“A winning Pakatan coalition must have clear policies and positions that are persuasive and convincing to middle Malaysia. So that Pakatan wins among all ethnic groups, especially the majority Malays and across the South China sea, in Sabah and Sarawak as well,” said Guan Eng.
He criticised Umno for allegedly using ethnic tension to divert the public’s attention from bread and butter issues such as inflation, abuse of public funds and corruption.
“There is no mention of 1Malaysia by Umno anymore. Only the language of lies, hate and violence used by racists and extremists alleging that the Chinese economic strength comes from illegal activities in gambling, prostitution and recreational activities.”
What is worse, Guan Eng said, is that Umno refuses to take action against its own members who stir up ethnic tension, while the Barisan Nasional (BN) government hauled opposition politicians to court under the Sedition Act.
Guan Eng Lim reiterated the party’s opposition to the goods and services tax (GST) next year, saying it is bad for low-income families and would wipe out the informal business sector.
“DAP contends that there is no need for the GST if corruption, inefficiency and wastage are rooted out as outlined in the annual Auditor-General Reports.
“Instead of punishing the cronies, ordinary Malaysians have to pay the price of BN’s failure in good governance,” he said.
Meanwhile, PAS central committee member Dr Hatta Ramli supported DAP’s call for Pakatan to have a clear and definite candidate for prime minister, saying that it is necessary if the opposition aims to seize federal power in the next general election.
Hatta said the suggestion by DAP is a fair one, adding that there is still time for the opposition pact to do so ahead of the next general election, which is due no later than 2018.
“We did not agree on one in the last general election. But we are confident that there is still time to work this out before the 14th general election. “If we want to capture the imagination of the majority of Malaysians we must have a national idol,” said Hatta, the PAS election director. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 15, 2014.