Has Harapan learnt the folly of allying with a race-based party?

S Thayaparan

Modified 7 Mar 2020, 12:47 am

“How can I say I am a Malaysian first and a Malay second. All Malays will shun me and say it’s not proper as Indians will also say they are Indian first.”

- Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (2010)

COMMENT | Maverick Kelantan DAP head honcho made a few rather queer remarks recently. In arguing for a pragmatic approach to working with the current prime minister, Zaid Ibrahim claimed that to describe what happened as a power grab was factually and legally incorrect.

To relitigate the chain of events, the machinations of the plotters, the motivations of those involved is pointless. The factual and legal basis of this issue could be resolved if the current prime minister demonstrates once and for all that he has a legitimate claim to power by convening Parliament and surviving a vote of no confidence.

The fact that those who have benefited from this power grab, notably political operative Abdul Hadi Awang is now claiming that a vote of no confidence is disrespectful to the Agong, should tell us who the “good” and “bad” guys are in this scenario and whether working with them is a “pragmatic” course of action.

Keep in mind that PAS and Umno have vowed not to work with DAP, hence any attempt at building consensus and perceiving that members of Pakatan Harapan – PKR, DAP and Amanah and whoever else is with them – could fill in possible slots of the Muhyiddin Yassin regime is foolhardy.

The prime minister has to balance the expectations of his allies, which include the now disenfranchised plotters and his bona fides as a Malay-first PM. If Zaid could articulate how DAP and PKR, which have sizable numbers in Parliament – so far – could navigate the Umno/PAS political terrain without alienating their bases, this would be appreciated.

As it is, PKR and DAP, as Zaid concedes, could not even stand up to Bersatu when it came to its Malay uber alles agenda, how could they possibly work with the Umno/PAS, even if the two allowed them participation in the game?

Which brings us back to the most important lesson that hopefully, Harapan has learnt from this fiasco. Forget about the machinations of the old maverick. Forget about the treachery of the Azmin Ali cartel. What were behind these moves was that mainstream Malay political establishment feared...

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