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QUESTION TIME | It’s not so bad really.

Does Pakatan Harapan actually need former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to have a chance of winning GE14 and in the process throw overboard much of what it stands for and what attracted many Malaysians to it in the first place?

In last week’s column, I raised the issue of whether Mahathir can be trusted with his presence in the opposition coalition and how he could become kingmaker if indeed Harapan does well in the coalition, a rather undesirable state for the opposition to be in.

But what is the alternative, some have asked? How can the current regime be got rid of if you don’t take help from wherever you get it, including Mahathir? What choice is there with PAS moving out of the coalition? What can Harapan do?

Below is a list some of the things that Harapan could have done from 2008, when in its previous reincarnation as Pakatan Rakyat it became a major force in Malaysian politics taking five states at GE13 and denying BN a two-thirds majority.

Some of these may be too late for GE14 but will serve it well in future GEs.

1. Stick to its ideals

This is paramount. Pakatan was formed to create a coalition which will remain honest, be competent and take care of the interests of all Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion and background - a true alternative BN, which was its original name, Barisan Alternatif. It has to scrupulously adhere to that founding philosophy by avoiding taking in tainted people who have a track record of doing the exact opposite. If it does, it will lose its soul.

I remember talking informally to one Harapan official not long after GE13 in May 2013. We need money, he said, especially in the rural areas to make them vote for the opposition. Really? How come you did not need money in the urban areas? And can you really raise more money than what the incumbents can? And is it right to indulge in money politics when you are swearing to get rid of it?

Not only is sticking to ideals and principles the right thing to do, it is the most practical thing to win support when your resources are rather limited - appeal to the good senses of the people to vote you in because you will do right by them and bring them benefits they desire...

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