Dennis Ignatius urges Pakatan Harapan to stay the course and not to compromise

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If PH summons voters to a righteous cause, the people will surely rise to the occasion once more.

Recent comments by PKR president and Pakatan Harapan chairman Anwar Ibrahim about collaborating with other parties in the upcoming general election is needlessly creating confusion and doubt among voters.

When asked if he would consider working once again with Dr Mahathir (Gerakan Tanah Air) and Muhyiddin Yassin (Perikatan Nasional), Anwar reportedly said he was open to the idea.

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil subsequently claimed that Anwar was “misquoted”. DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng too insisted that Anwar was misquoted but then added that PH was willing to work with other parties provided they unconditionally accept Anwar as prime minister should PH win GE15.

Interestingly, Anwar himself made no attempt to clear the air.

What we have then is the lingering suspicion that PH leaders are open to all sorts of deals with the likes of PN and GTA. Such suspicions are not without basis as Anwar had previously tried to make deals even with Zahid Hamidi of UMNO.

If PH leaders are indeed open to such collaboration, what it tells voters is that PH is all about power, position and privilege; not principles, policies and people.

Voters will undoubtedly find such reports mindboggling as well. What kind of collaboration is possible with PN, for example? Muhyiddin was one of the main coup plotters who brought down the PH administration. His treachery ushered in all the instability we now face.

To embrace PN is also to embrace PAS – the most extremist political party in Malaysia, a party that is actively seeking to institutionalise discrimination against non-Muslims and non-Malays.

And have they forgotten that Dr Mahathir betrayed the trust of millions of voters who looked to him to set things right? And they want to work with him again?

If PH leaders think it’s okay to collaborate with any of these parties and personalities, then clearly they do not understand the sentiment on the ground. Worse still, it is a sign that they lack the courage of their own convictions, that they are so desperate for power that they are willing to compromise their own principles.

Strategically, as well, it is foolish to keep on dwelling on such a controversial and divisive idea going into an election. If voters get the impression that PH is willing to work with traitors, racists and extremists just to regain Putrajaya, they might end up disillusioned. They might not even bother to vote. And who can blame them?

It’s time that PH leaders start believing again in that vision of a better Malaysia that once excited and gripped the whole nation. It’s time that PH leaders put their trust in the voters instead of putting their faith in unholy alliances.

PH stands for something unique, something this nation desperately needs. It should never water down its uniqueness or compromise its vision by collaborating with those who do not share its values.

In any case, if history has anything to teach us, it is that politicians like Zahid Hamidi, Muhyiddin Yassin, Hadi Awang and Mahathir Mohamad simply cannot be trusted. They’ll agree to anything and say anything just to get elected. Once in power, however, the backstabbing, the intrigues and plotting will start all over again.  We can’t go on like this.

It is imperative, therefore, that Pakatan Harapan kill the notion about working with the likes of UMNO or PN or GTA once and for all. It’s better to lose doing the right thing than winning through shaking hands with those treacherous politicians who’ll stab you in the back the first chance they get.

Pakatan Harapan must now quickly get its act together. Forget about unholy alliances. Firm up cooperation with Muda and PSM instead; reach out to at least some of the Gerak Independent candidates. They share the same vision and are on the same page.

My plea to the PH leadership is this: please be the Pakatan Harapan that we all want to see. Fight the good fight. Go out and convince Malaysians that PH is the party that will help realise the deep-seated hope for that better Malaysia we all want to see.

Malaysians care deeply about their nation. They know we face serious challenges. They know that things are looking bleak. What they want are good and honest leaders, leaders to give them hope, leaders with a sound vision for the future. If PH summons them to a righteous cause, the people will surely rise to the occasion once more. And we might just see another electoral tsunami like what we saw on that magic night in May 2018. – Dennis Ignatius