Anthony Loke: Post-GE15 alliance may be needed to form govt

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DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke believes a post-election alliance between different parties and coalitions may be needed to form the government following the 15th general election (GE15).

He said after the Sheraton Move, which saw the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government in February 2020, a single coalition government is no longer feasible.

None of the parties or coalitions right now, he said, can be confident about being able to form the government by themselves after the general election.

“Even BN is not confident they can form a government on their own… If you ask today if Umno or BN have a fixed formula to regain their strength, I don’t think so.

“So do us (Pakatan Harapan). I think we are still searching,” Loke said, as reported by The Vibes today.

While the Seremban MP believes a multi-coalition system is the way forward, he does not believe pre-election alliances are possible due to each party’s own considerations and posturing.

“I think the scenario will be post-election, depending on what kind of strengths each coalition has. But whether or not it will happen will be based on the wisdom of the leadership of each coalition.

“This is something you have to be level-headed, pragmatic, and realistic about, on how to move the government forward.

“I don’t think horse-trading or negotiation will take place before the election. Depending on the outcome of the polls, then I think parties and coalitions will have to think rationally about what is the way forward for the country,” he said.

Clear agenda, principles

Loke said any government formed by a post-election alliance must agree upon clear policies and agendas.

He believes this feat is plausible due to the possibilities opened up by the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Harapan and the administration led by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The former transport minister said he will still defend the MoU today, even though they have been criticised by some over the move.

“We have not sacrificed any of our principles, we know what we want to achieve. The anti-hopping law, for example, would not be possible without some form of understanding between the government and the opposition.

“I think Malaysians at large have to look at that. It’s not a zero-sum game. As the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has decreed, Malaysian politics cannot be a case of winner takes all and losers lose all.

“There must be some sort of compromise and understanding moving forward,” Loke said.

Estimated GE15 dates

Meanwhile, he said he thinks GE15 will happen next year as there are not many windows of opportunity for Ismail Sabri’s government to call for one in 2022.

The current rising inflation and increased overnight policy rate (OPR) announced by Bank Negara Malaysia are not in favour of the government of the day, he said, adding that those factors rule out an election in the next few months.

“The year-end period is also very limited. I don’t think it is feasible as far as flood risks are concerned,” he pointed out.

Loke predicted the general election will likely take place between February and March next year, which is after Chinese New Year and before Ramadan, or after the Hari Raya festive period in May.

Despite his predictions, he said DAP is preparing for any possibilities.

“We have to be prepared. There is no such thing as being fully ready, but we just have to be prepared.

“Some physical preparation has already started, but you never know when (the election will be called),” he said.

Justice for Teoh Beng Hock

In a separate statement sent today in conjunction with the memorial of Teoh Beng Hock who died on July 16, 2009, Loke said DAP will continue to pursue the truth behind the political aide’s death 13 years ago.

Not only do they owe it to Teoh’s parents, but he said they also have a responsibility to the rakyat who deserve justice and rule of law.

He admitted that Teoh’s case did not make much progress when Harapan was in power, which is “a matter of frustration and regret”, but they take the criticisms with an open heart.

“Today, as we stand here to commemorate the deceased, we remind ourselves to remain steadfast to the cause.

“Justice for Teoh must be done and the perpetrators at large must be apprehended and brought to face the full force of law,” Loke said.

However, he said Teoh was neither the first nor last victim of custodial deaths, which has remained rampant since Teoh’s demise.

He noted that between 2015 and November 2021, there have been about 176 lives lost in custody, while 2022 has recorded 19 cases so far.

“Each of these deaths in custody cases keeps us awake and reminds us that we have not attained much progress in implementing reforms.

“However, we also realise that this is a crucial moment when our fight must continue ahead despite recent setbacks.

“Otherwise, the sacrifice of Teoh would be in vain. Otherwise, our forebears who fought tirelessly for the ideals of a Malaysian Malaysia, their blood and tears would have gone to waste,” Loke said.

Teoh was found dead on July 16, 2009, on the fifth-floor service corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, after being questioned overnight at the Selangor MACC headquarters on the 14th floor.

At the time of his death, Teoh had been a political aide to Selangor executive councillor and DAP’s Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah.

In 2011, a Royal Commission of Inquiry determined that Teoh was driven to commit suicide following aggressive questioning by the MACC. – Malaysiakini