KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan’s latest leadership line-up has drawn flak from Barisan Nasional politicians, many of whom are questioning the structure.
Writing in his blog, Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak questioned why DAP was not holding one of the top posts when it had the most lawmakers in Pakatan.
“Is DAP being sidelined or was this an intentional move so that the Opposition pact is perceived to be dominated by the Malays?” he wrote yesterday.
On Thursday night, Pakatan had announced Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the coalition’s de facto leader, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as chairman and Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as president.
DAP’s Lim Guan Eng and Chong Chieng Jen were named as the deputy president and vice-president.
Dr Salleh also pointed out that among the top three positions, it was not stated who had the executive power or final say in the decision-making process.
MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the line-up looked as if they were “creating many top posts just to accommodate each other”.
“You have big posts such as Ketua Umum, presidential council chairman and chairman, followed by three deputy presidents.
“It is very strange. There is no clear cut scope of work and chain of command. It is merely political bargaining,” he said.
Dr Wee said he was also surprised that DAP was content with a mere deputy president’s post.
“The deputy president’s post is a consolation post where every party must have one representative with the exception of PKR, which has already taken the president’s post,” he said.
Agreeing with Dr Salleh, Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz labelled the line-up as a recipe for disaster.
“When I saw the line-up, I thought it was a recipe for disaster because it’s very confusing.
“In fact, I think they are also confused because they don’t know who should be the leader,” he said.
The ambiguity of Pakatan’s leadership, he said, was probably due to the Opposition’s distrust of Dr Mahathir as a former Umno president who put Anwar in jail.
Barisan’s strategic communications director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said it was time for the “hastily formed” Opposition coalition to take a formal stand on major policies such as the abolition of the Goods and Services Tax.
“They must explain how to cover the budget deficit. Malaysians don’t want rhetorical and populist announcements without telling the dire consequences,” he tweeted.
However, in a statement, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said his party was neither sidelined nor did it dominate Pakatan, adding that Pakatan was a “coalition of equals”, unlike Barisan.
“Consensus from all the four component parties is the basic operational principle of the coalition,” he said.
PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the line-up should put an end to rumours of disunity within the Opposition.
Azmin, who is also Selangor Mentri Besar, congratulated Dr Mahathir on his appointment as chairman, saying that it was a positive development.
“His appointment is significant to the strengthening of Pakatan, as well as giving it direction and focus ahead of the general election,” he added.
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