KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan is facing a slow death because of internal turmoil and other shortcomings, claims Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The Barisan Nasional chairman hoped that Barisan and its new ally PAS could use this opportunity to wrest control of Putrajaya, as Pakatan faced internal power tussles, a lack of ideas to overcome economic woes, and disenchanted supporters.
Stopping short of naming PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Ahmad Zahid said a certain personality could continue dreaming of taking over the premiership.
"Pakatan is bankrupt of ideas, and continues to play the perception game to draw public sympathy.
"But the rakyat cannot be fooled forever by such political games," he said when opening the 73rd MIC annual general meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre here Sunday (Aug 25).
Also present were MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, and former MIC chief Tun Samy Vellu.
Ahmad Zahid said the public had become disillusioned with Pakatan because the coalition had failed to fulfil election promises to abolish toll and reduce the price of goods, among others.
"They only cut and paste our (former Barisan government) ideas and policies, and change names. If they are not efficient, we can replace them," he said.
Ahmad Zahid also said MIC president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran was minister material.
He said the last general election saw the fall of Barisan because of perception games.
Pointing out that the Japan Democratic Party only lasted three years as a new ruling party, Ahmad Zahid said Pakatan could face the same fate as a one-term government.
"There is no clear planning to drive the economy upward and jobs are affected.
"Since May 2018,1, 691 government contract workers lost their jobs, while 32,928 people in the private sector were laid off," Ahmad Zahid said.
He added that infighting within and among Pakatan component parties was coming into the open.
"Internet users are criticising Pakatan on the social media," he added.
Meanwhile, the MIC has declared controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik is "better than" Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.
Vigneswaran said unlike Asri, Zakir had at least apologised and said it was not his intention to hurt others' feelings.
He said if Zakir was pressured to leave Malaysia on grounds of hurting the feelings of others, the same could not be done to Asri.
Vigneswaran was speaking at a press conference after Ahmad Zahid opened MIC's 73rd AGM Sunday.
Asri courted controversy when he allegedly called for racial dominance.
Zakir, who had become a permanent resident of Malaysia after the Indian government revoked his citizenship over alleged trumped-up money-laundering charges, had said that his comment on the loyalty of Indian Malaysians was taken out of context.
"Zakir had said that it was not his intention (to hurt others' feelings). It is better than the Mufti of Perlis," Vigneswaran said.
He acknowledged that Zakir obtained his PR status when Barisan was in power.
"Back then, he did not make any hurtful remarks.
"We have no problem having Zakir here. It has nothing to do with us.
"But he should not hurt the feelings of other races and undermine other religions," he said.
On the khat issue, Vigneswaran said MIC objected to the introduction of the subject in primary schools.
"Yes, it was a policy proposed when Barisan was in power. But it was never implemented following negative feedback from other stakeholders.
"So, why must Pakatan Harapan adopt the policy and stir unnecessary sentiments?
"Just drop it. It is just a policy, not a law," he said.