As PKR fails to pick sides, stalemate possible in 'Pakatan 2.0' formation

On Tuesday, PKR’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim confirmed news that the opposition front known as Pakatan Rakyat is currently going through a reorganisation. ― File pic
On Tuesday, PKR’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim confirmed news that the opposition front known as Pakatan Rakyat is currently going through a reorganisation. ― File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 ― With PKR struggling to choose an alliance in the fallout between DAP and PAS, leaders keen on starting a new opposition coalition without the Islamist party now fear their plans may not materialise.

Conflicting remarks issued by PKR leaders since the crisis started earlier this month clearly show the party is now caught between a rock and a hard place ― severing ties with PAS could see PKR lose its rule in Selangor but staying friendly with the Islamist party would not bode well with its DAP allies.

“PKR's inability to decide on choosing between DAP and PAS is making any efforts to move on difficult.

“From their remarks, it seems like they can't make the hard choice of cutting ties with PAS, and this has upset plans to form a new party to replace PAS,” a PR source told Malay Mail Online.

On Tuesday, PKR’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim confirmed news that the opposition front known as Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is currently going through a reorganisation and that the changes will involve the inclusion of “new” forces.

With no further details offered, however, Anwar’s remarks did little to explain the party’s strategy to resolve the impasse in Selangor.

His wife, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and her deputy Azmin Ali had previously insisted that despite the split between PAS and DAP, the spirit of PR lives on although it no longer functions formally.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, a member of PAS' DAP-friendly progressive faction said that PKR is caught in a difficult position as they need both the support of DAP and PKR if they wanted to keep control of the Selangor government.

“PKR is supporting PAS in Kelantan, and DAP in Penang in the hopes that they get the support they need in Selangor.

“What choice do they have? They are caught in between,” Khalid told Malay Mail Online.

Another PAS progressive, Dr Hatta Ramli admitted that PKR's remarks on PR's demise have been confusing, but added that Anwar's latest remarks have made the party's stand much clearer.

“I think I will hold on to the last word from Anwar, which I presume represents the whole of PKR.

“Whatever comments that have been made, it has been superseded by Anwar's statement,” the Kuala Krai MP told Malay Mail Online.

“We will let PKR decide on their position, but from what Anwar said an reorganisation is in order so as a group we should be looking forward to that restructuring,” he added.

Hatta and Khalid, along with PAS leaders, who were axed in the Islamist party's recent election, are planning to form a new party that will emphasise on the need to repair and maintain PR ties.

An informal gathering involving PAS’s progressives, DAP and PKR leaders on Tuesday night have also set tongues wagging that the formation of a new alliance is underway, one that will no longer include PAS.

DAP’s Teresa Kok even publicly gave it the name of “Pakatan 2.0” when she spoke of the gathering on her Facebook page.

“Even though the PAS muktamar's decision was to break off relations with DAP, but tonight it seems there is hope for the the birth of Pakatan Rakyat 2.0,” the DAP leader wrote.

Despite the open hostilities between PAS and DAP, and talk of a “Pakatan 2.0”, PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang who was also at the gathering insisted to Malay Mail Online that some form of cooperation still continues to exist between all three PR parties.

“Ninety per cent of members of all three parties want a Pakatan of sorts to continue. They will work with each other regardless what the leadership says,” he told Malay Mail Online.

“DAP and PAS will somehow enter some electoral pact with or without formal coalition. This is because they don't share overlapping voters' demography.

“PKR will have to try working with everybody,” the Batu MP explained.

The three parties PKR, DAP and PAS that made up the PR pact were thrown into a state of uncertainty recently after PAS decided during its June 6 muktamar to cut ties with the DAP.

The decision later led to the DAP declaring PR’s death as a coalition.

PKR, in an attempt to ensure the fallout between its allies does not cause the fall of the two governments that PR rules — Selangor and Penang — has since said that the spirit of the pact lives on although it no longer functions formally.

PAS, on the other hand, has continued to insist that PR still lives.

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