There was a time during the early existence of the Barisan Alternatif (BA) when any public disagreement between the leaders of DAP, PAS or Keadilan would be interpreted as a sign of the ‘wobbly’ nature of the nascent opposition coalition.
The fact that DAP did finally pull out of BA after the September 11 attacks in the United States and just before the 2001 Sarawak state elections because of irreconcilable differences with PAS over the Islamic state issue only confirmed the precarious state of the opposition coalition.
Hence, it is not surprising that similar fears of a Pakatan Rakyat implosion have been sparked by the very public disagreement between Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim over the issue of the state’s Malay deputy chief minister.
But such fears are grossly overblown. The Pakatan coalition is on much firmer ground than the BA. In fact, the public spat between these two Pakatan leaders may actually be a good thing for the opposition coalition. It shows that Pakatan is attempting to find a ‘formula’ of inter-coalition cooperation that is different from the formula currently practiced by BN.