What does 2021 hold for the Opposition? A grand coalition hopefully, says Amanah’s Salahuddin

Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (far right) is seen with other Johor-based Opposition MPs during a recent meeting in the state earlier this week. — Picture by Amni Jagat
Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (far right) is seen with other Johor-based Opposition MPs during a recent meeting in the state earlier this week. — Picture by Amni Jagat

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JOHOR BARU, Dec 31 — An Opposition grand coalition can be realised next year if parliamentarians irrespective of party have the will to see the idea succeed, said Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.

He said once formed, the coalition must mobilise immediately to court voters who will expect such a political union to speak for them.

“Such an aspiration can start anywhere and at any level. I hope it really becomes a reality because we can bring together the Opposition’s respective influences as our strength,” he said.

Salahuddin stressed that Amanah hopes 2021 will see the Opposition forming a united front capable of steering the country away from any further damage.

“With that, we need to set aside our differences and find common ground in order to achieve the goal of convincing the people,” said the Pulai MP when contacted by Malay Mail about his recent visit to Johor where he met several Opposition MPs.

Among the MPs that Salahuddin met earlier this week were DAP’s Yeo Bee Yin, independent lawmaker Maszlee Malik and Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda) chairman Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

On the formation of an Opposition grand coalition for the 15th general election (GE15), Salahuddin referred to previous political unions that emerged ahead of GE8 in 1990.

“For example, during GE8, we had the Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah (Muslim Unity Movement) and Gagasan Rakyat political coalitions.

“Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah’s role was to focus on areas such as the east coast and Malay-majority areas, while Gagasan Rakyat concentrated on mixed seat areas, including Sabah, due to the involvement of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) at the time,” said the seasoned 59-year-old politician.

Gagasan Rakyat, which was also active during the 1995 general election, was made up of DAP, PBS, Malaysian People’s Party, Indian Progressive Front and Malaysian Solidarity Party.

Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah, on the other hand, comprised PAS, Semangat 46, Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa), Parti Hizbul Muslimin Malaysia (Hamim) and the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma).

Both political unions, which dissolved in 1996, were succeeded by Barisan Alternatif.

With this precedent in mind, Salahuddin remains optimistic about the prospect of Opposition parties coming together to form a grand coalition.

“This is not a problem if you want to start at the national or state level, even the parliamentary level.

“What is important is that there is support for the Opposition in a particular place. If there is strong support there, why should we split?” said Salahuddin.

Last Saturday, Amanah said it was prepared to play the role of peacemaker and be the bridge to bring together Opposition parties to form a grand coalition in facing the coming general election.

Its president Mohamad Sabu was reported to have said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) would be able to find common ground and strengthen ties between all Opposition leaders.

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