Will we soon see Mahathir's 'BN Baru'?

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LETTER | There were moments in recent years that PKR and DAP shelved differences and painted a deceptive picture that all is well with PAS. They formed a loose bond with PAS despite being warned by well-wishers that it would be a disastrous move. Despite having differences in opinion, they held on together only because of one reason – a common enemy.

The disagreements never disappeared; rather, these became prominent and turmoil ensued within the opposition. This has led to many of us thanking our lucky stars that the opposition did not take over Putrajaya in the last elections.

Unfortunately, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Pakatan Harapan is now embarking on the same journey of ‘a relationship of convenience’ again. They have accepted Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and Minority Rights Action Party (Mira) as strategic partners for the upcoming elections.

Mahathir’s admission that they are currently being perceived as a Chinese and Malay party and therefore the necessity to align with Hindraf and Mira is a reminder to us that he has not changed in his political approach. Prior to Mahathir’s party Bersatu's venture into Pakatan, DAP and PKR stood their grounds as multiracial parties. Now, it is back to square one.

Bersatu only boasts Malay members and is an exact replica of Umno. Meanwhile, DAP is being perceived as the opposite of MCA while Hindraf and Mira will embattle MIC’s voting bank. In the past, Mahathir formed Umno Baru. Is he trying to create a Barisan Nasional Baru now?

Bersatu’s notion of Malay-only to woo the Malay votes and Lim Guan Eng’s mocking of MCA leaders standing in constituencies where non-Chinese are the majority seems to be reaffirming BN’s claim that the opposition is even more racial than itself.

Everyone knows that Prime Minister Najib Razak has been wooing Indians for years. Other than forming an independent Indian unit within the government and giving out millions in initiatives, he has also allocated special funds for other ethnic subgroups such as Telugus, Malayalees and Sikhs. He even went as far as being the first PM to visit the temple during Thaipusam every year.

So, Mahathir feels that he needs to replicate this and he goes about forming an alliance with these fringe players to represent Indians within Harapan. But it is still unsure if they have any grassroots Indian support or even if 10 percent of the Indian populace knows their existence.

These deceptive bonds with every organisation for the sake of toppling BN will spell disaster, whether they win the elections or not. One may argue that such action is a necessity in the attempt to topple BN. This also means an admission that tossing integrity and principles out of the window to win is acceptable. If it is just another basket with rotten fruits, then maybe it is best we stick to the devil we know than the one we don’t.

What has happened to DAP and PKR’s principles of multiethnic members and policies? Mahathir was the propagator of racial division in Malaysia with his policy and politics for 22 years, which has been the bane of our existence.

Now, Harapan and their supporters have given him the power to split the nation even more. The majority of the rakyat just envision a change, which is far from what Harapan has to offer now.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.