PH also warned to not “out-Malay” Umno and PAS.
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim today appeared to distance himself from a call by his deputy Mohamed Azmin Ali for the government to push forth policies in favour of Malays and Bumiputera if it wanted to regain confidence of the community.
The prime minister-in-waiting said his party was committed to a policy of helping not only the Malays but also the poor from other communities.
“That’s his personal opinion,” Anwar told reporters after attending the launch of the Digital Native Agenda (DNA23) initiative at the headquarters of subscription TV Astro.
“The Pakatan Harapan manifesto does not sideline Malays and Bumiputera, but calls for a transparent and non-racial approach, with an agenda to help the poor and the alienated. The Malays are the majority, but the approach is not racial,” he said.
Yesterday, Azmin, commenting on PH’s defeat in the Semenyih by-election on Saturday, said the coalition should step up efforts to change and be the party of choice for Malay voters, as well as to continue the Bumiputera agenda.
“We must be brave and not hesitate in fulfilling our promises, especially on the Malay and Bumiputera agenda which is an integral part of the national agenda. We must do so without feeling apologetic and fearful of criticism of others,” the economic affairs minister was quoted as saying by Bernama.
When asked for his response on the Semenyih by-election outcome, Anwar today admitted that PH should step up its efforts, including to “connect with the people”.
“But I don’t think it’s a matter of turning back (on policies), reneging on our promise of transparent policies to assist Malaysians regardless of race and religion,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anwar said he was not worried over a plan by PAS and Umno to use a common logo.
But the Port Dickson MP reminded the Islamist party not to ignore massive corruption and abuse under the previous administration.
Malay daily Sinar Harian today reported that Umno and PAS were likely to cooperate further following BN’s victory in the Semenyih and Cameron Highlands by-elections.
Meanwhile, DAP central executive committee member Ronnie Liu has warned PH against becoming more Malay-centric following its defeat in the Semenyih by-election.
“There will be some Harapan leaders who will get spooked by Semenyih and have a knee-jerk reaction, calling for it to start becoming more Malay-centric.
“In other words, they want Harapan to try to ‘out-Umno’ Umno and perhaps even to ‘out-PAS’ PAS.
“If Harapan or even its component parties go down this route, it will be a colossal mistake of the highest order,” he said in a statement on his Patreon page.
Liu pointed out that PH emerged victorious in last year’s general election because it carried a pluralistic message.
As such, he said, emulating BN simply due to defeat in Semenyih would be short-sighted and against all that the ruling coalition stands for.
Liu implored Putrajaya to focus on a needs-based agenda instead.
“When you have a Malaysian agenda, by definition you are helping the Malays, because Malays are the biggest component of Malaysian society,” he said.
“Isn’t it better to uplift society as a whole rather than just a particular segment of it?”
If PH doubles down on its idealistic reforms and commitment to pluralism, Liu said, the people will know who to support.