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Admission of ex-Umno MPs doesn't augur well for Harapan

P Ramasamy  |  Published:  |  Modified:

ADUN SPEAKS | PKR deputy president Azmin Ali said that the entry of seven former Umno MPs into Bersatu should be of no concern to others because they have repented

Among the seven who were admitted was the controversial Shabudin Yahaya, who is infamous for saying some time back that women who were raped should marry their assailants.

I don't remember that Shabudin has ever said sorry or repented for making such an insensitive and obnoxious remark about the victims.

For Prime Minister Dr Mahahtir Mohammed, if a person had said bad things before and he does not repeat it anymore, then he should be forgiven.

What matters for Mahathir is whether controversial or insensitive remarks are made in the present.

How about those with criminal records in the past? Will these be cast aside because they were in the past and not now?

Whether the remark by Mahathir is based on principle or expediency or on the grounds of political power remains to be seen.

But the simple thing is that you cannot ignore the past misdeeds of someone in making decisions.

Not all members of the coalition parties in the Pakatan Harapan are happy as to the admission to these individuals. Some in the DAP and PKR have expressed reservations.

While political parties have the right to admit individuals as members in accordance with their own set of rules and regulations, there is a caveat to this.

If the political party is in a political coalition, then views of the members of the coalition parties are often taken into account before decisions are made.

It cannot be just a fait accompli.

Even if the matter of the admission of these members are going to be discussed in the Harapan presidential council, there is nothing to suggest that the earlier decision will be reversed.

It seems to be a foregone conclusion.

While I am not privy to earlier decisions about membership admissions in Harapan, this decision by Bersatu raises important questions about the unity and well-being of the coalition.

The future is uncertain

Even after the last general election, it was feared that Bersatu might turn out to be another Umno and that there was a possibility that Umno-elected representatives could be brought into the party to bolster its strength and to keep other coalition parties in check.

It did not happen for a while. However, when some of its elected representatives left Umno there was writing on the wall that the way was paved for their entry into Bersatu.

It is the greatest irony of the Malaysian political history that the last general election was fought on the platform to deny votes principally to Umno, a party that was identified as the root of all evil in the country.

But an unexpected thing is happening in our midst. The first batch of Umno leaders, principally those MPs, are being allowed into the party.

Other Harapan coalition members are wondering when the second batch will be allowed into Bersatu and who might be the leaders.

I don't think other Harapan coalition parties are happy with this development, but they are not prepared to mount opposition to Bersatu.

Possibly, such matters might be raised in the Harapan meeting to be scheduled soon.

The admission of these former Umno members, apart from bolstering the strength of Bersatu, might be intended to provide checks and balances in Harapan.

Although there is no outright hostility at the moment, the future is uncertain.

Azmin's open endorsement of this move by Bersatu suggests that he might have other ideas on the future of the country’s leadership and his actual role.

Meanwhile, let us wait and see whether more former Umno leaders are going to be brought within the fold of Bersatu.

P RAMASAMY is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also deputy chief minister II of Penang.

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

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