Between the ‘tainted’ and the ‘extremists’, who should PH work with?

The possible union between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) to form the next government in Malaysia shows that words uttered by politicians, prior to, and during their election campaigns, cannot be taken at face value.

Political analyst Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk also pointed out that the nation would be better off seeing a tie-up between PH and Perikatan Nasional (PN).

“(PH leader Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim has always claimed that he wants to take the higher moral ground,” said Azeem.

“If he says he is a man of principle, why is he choosing to work with Umno, and not PN? DAP has also been surprisingly quiet,” added the Universiti Sains Malaysia Centre for Policy Research and International Studies director.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, had yesterday, also suggested that PH and PN join forces to form the government, “as they have the highest number of votes.”

On Sunday, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said Malaysia was in the new era of coalition politics. He advocated a coalition government of PH (82 MPs), PN (73 MPs) and the Borneo Bloc (35 MPs) with Anwar as prime minister with the specific aim to reverse Malaysia’s decline, and  to make Malaysia a great, world-class nation, and to fight corruption.

Azeem said PH, during its GE15 campaign, had spoken out against corruption – including the alleged involvement of BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) contract fiasco.

A declassified report prepared by the Special Investigation Committee on Public Governance, Procurement and Finance on the LCS project revealed Ahmad Zahid’s involvement in the affair, despite the former defence minister’s denials.

But now that the tables have turned, Azeem said politicians are showing that they are willing to compromise their principles for the sake of power.

Azeem highlighted that Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, and several other Umno leaders, including Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin, are facing corruption charges in court.

“PN has been consistent, and they have never interfered in the judiciary. They did not meddle in (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak, Ahmad Zahid, or Bung Mokhtar’s cases.”

Azeem added that PN chairman, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, did not appoint “tainted” Umno leaders to his Cabinet when he was prime minister.

“If PH is serious about setting up a unity government, why not work with PN? At least there is no one within PN that is tainted.

“The most rational thing to do to save this country is to work with PN. Anwar is not acting like a statesman but like someone who is crazy for power,” Azeem added.

Azeem said the narrative that PH should not work with PN due to the “extremist Pas”, should be put to rest.

“Pas would have to adhere to the Federal Constitution. They have been in power in Kelantan, Terengganu, and Kedah for decades, and they have done well in protecting minority rights,” Azeem said.

Azeem also added that not everyone in Umno is on the same page regarding the PH-BN tie-up.

Among those who had been against the PH-BN pact are Sembrong MP, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, and Johor Menteri Besar, Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

Hishammuddin rejected working with Pakatan Harapan, saying he would rather be sacked by the party than change his “No Anwar, No DAP” stand.

Onn Hafiz also expressed his dismay at the possible union, stating that Ahmad Zahid should not be negotiating with PH without the agreement from Umno and BN’s Supreme Council.

“Any decision made by the president without obtaining consent is invalid and is against the party (Umno’s) constitution. Umno’s previous decision is to not work with Anwar and DAP,” Onn Hafiz said yesterday.