PETALING JAYA: Political analysts are asking if Pakatan Harapan – with its new leadership line-up – will be able to perform as well or better than Pakatan Rakyat in the last general election.
This is because while Pakatan Rakyat and its predecessors – Barisan Alternatif, Gagasan Rakyat and Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah – all had a clear leader, it is still not clear who among the new line-up will ultimately call the shots.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the main player in Barisan Alternatif and Pakatan Rakyat, while Semangat 46 president Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was the central figure in both Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah and Gagasan Rakyat.
“Semangat 46 also dominated in Gagasan Rakyat and Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah. Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) now wants to play that same role of being a bridge between the parties.
“While the other parties in Pakatan Harapan seem willing to defer to PPBM’s intention of playing a key role, it’s still not clear who will call the shots.
“Will it be the de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail?” Prof Sivamurugan asked.
Barisan Alternatif – comprising Parti Keadilan Nasional, Parti Rakyat Malaysia, DAP and PAS – contested the 1998 general election.
Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah – made up of PAS, Semangat 46, Berjasa and Hamim – contested in 1990 and 1995.
In the 1990 general election, Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah also worked with Gagasan Rakyat, comprising Semangat 46, DAP, Parti Bersatu Sabah and Parti Rakyat Malaysia.
Prof Sivamurugan said previous Opposition groupings also had clearer policy frameworks that went beyond merely trying to unseat Barisan Nasional from power.
“On the other hand, Pakatan Harapan is seen mainly as a grouping formed to unseat the Government.
“The question is whether voters will see Pakatan Harapan as a viable choice to form the next government and lead the country beyond the next general election.”
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir said the four-hour meeting prior to the announcement on Thursday night indicated something was not right.
“The question now is – why are DAP leaders like Lim Kit Siang and Guan Eng not in the top committee?
“This is believed to be a political strategy by Pakatan Harapan to win the hearts of the Malay voters, especially in rural areas,” said Dr Jeniri.
He said the grouping’s performance still remained to be seen.
“This is because it will depend on how effectively it manages seat allocation and whether it can face off with Barisan in straight fights.”
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