PKR’s decision to ‘fly solo’ in Johor could prove costly for opposition

PKR’s decision to ‘fly solo’ in the Johor state election under its own party flag, instead of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) banner, is a clear indication that all is not well in the opposition coalition.

An insider said the decision by PKR could prove costly for Pakatan Harapan.

“(Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim is Pakatan Harapan’s chairman but his party is not using the coalition’s flag, and the public perception is that we are not united,” said a PH coalition leader.

“You can expect our rivals to play up the matter during the campaign,” the insider said.

Associate Prof Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk concurred, saying that the latest episode showed that all is not well in Pakatan Harapan.

“The alliance is disintegrating. PKR’s performance in Melaka was an indicator that all is not going as planned, as far as Anwar’s leadership is concerned,” said Azeem, who is Universiti Sains Malaysia’s director for the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies.

“Pakatan Harapan’s logo has been approved. All parties under the coalition must use the logo to show a united force.”

PKR lost all 11 seats that it contested in Melaka, while DAP and Amanah won four, and one state seat, respectively. Many within the coalition then blamed Anwar for the poor performance.

“There was infighting and the relationship between PKR and Pakatan Harapan is not that good. PKR’s decision to field Umno defectors (Datuk Seri) Idris Haron and (Datuk) Nor Azman Hassan to contest in Melaka was also not well received by DAP.

“There are also rumblings within DAP for Anwar to make way for others,” said Azeem.

“Anwar wants to see if PKR still has the support of the people by going to the polls alone,” Azeem added.

Azeem said the outcome in Johor is anybody’s guess, as the situation there is quite complicated.

“It used to be an Umno stronghold, but it fell to Pakatan Harapan in 2018… This was unexpected.

“It should also be noted that there was no compelling reason to dissolve the state assembly, as there was no vote of confidence mooted in the house against the state government. The dissolution all came down to power politics,” he added.