Former Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming today said that a coalition government with Umno made “logical and political sense” and reminded the public that the idea was already raised by DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke before the general election.
In a statement today, Ong said that cooperation with Umno has allowed a government to be formed despite a hung Parliament and would also help dampen criticism among the Malay electorate that the DAP and the non-Malays would control a Pakatan Harapan-led (PH) government.
“Although he was heavily criticised for his statement then, including by many PH supporters, many of the same critics would later welcome the support of Umno’s 26 MPs for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister post-GE15 when it was clear what the alternative would be,” said Ong, referring to Loke.
“The appointment of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the deputy prime minister and a Cabinet minister should be seen in a similar light — to provide much-needed political stability and to deliver institutional reforms,” he added.
In August, Loke had come under fire after saying that he did not rule out working with Umno to form a government after GE15.
Loke had then said collaboration between parties from different divides is more likely to happen since the 2018 general election when the country’s political landscape faced drastic changes, particularly the absence of a single dominant party.
Anwar, however, at the time said that he held a “slightly” different stance than Loke and was not thinking of negotiating with anyone.
However yesterday, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said that efforts for cooperation to form a government had started before GE15, as PH was already aware that neither it nor any other political party or coalition could form the government on its own after the polls.
Ong also said that Anwar’s move to appoint himself as finance minister could be to provide a reason to Umno leaders to explain to their supporters why the party did not get the much sought-after position.
“The controversy surrounding the appointment of Zahid Hamidi as deputy prime minister should not detract from the other positive takeaway points from the Cabinet appointments,” he said.
“The economic team of ministers comprising Anwar as finance minister, Rafizi Ramli as the economic minister and Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz as international trade and industry minister should give investors and the business community confidence that the economy will be well-managed,” he said.
He added that BN and PH had many similarities in their manifestos, creating the possibilities for several reforms that the public could look forward to.
“The BN manifesto explicitly mentions the move to a more ‘needs-based policy’ approach, highlights the need for greater decentralisation to the states and promises to amend the federal constitution to explicitly allow for citizenship rights to children of Malaysian mothers who are born overseas,” he said. – MMO