KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Former Melaka chief minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron has thrown his weight behind Pakatan Harapan (PH) to prevail in the upcoming state elections.
The recently sacked Umno politician, in an interview with English portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT), asserted how a government led by PH would be the better choice for Melaka voters.
Idris said he believes a combination of former chief ministers comprising himself and Parti Amanah Negara’s Adly Zahari would be a good fit to govern the state, saying it was the best “offer” available to Melaka.
He asserted such leadership would be able to govern the state with integrity and transparency.
“We will prove that the government that will take over next will be a more responsible government, one that does not discriminate and that distributes the economic pie proportionately,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
When quizzed on his next political party, Idris said meetings with party presidents and leaders are ongoing, but assured that it would be aligned with PH.
“(PH) will give the people of the state of Melaka a better offer in the coming state elections,” he said.
The former Sungai Udang assemblyman also asserted that Melaka would be better off being governed by a multi-racial and “clean” administration, instead of a Malay-Muslim led government that is corrupt and incompetent.
Idris acknowledged that the former Barisan Nasional-led government was an all Malay-Muslim administration governing Melaka.
“Yes, they’re Malay and Muslim, but what choice do we have?”
“On the one hand, a government that claims to be Malay-Muslim but is rotten, corrupted, incompetent, (subject to external) interventions, which discriminates, among other traits.
“On the other hand, a government of various backgrounds which possesses racial unity, that is more Islamic and capable of ensuring the welfare of the people of Melaka,” he was quoted as saying.
Backing his claims, Idris alleged that aid programmes under the previous state government were distributed discriminately against those with differing political views, claiming that aid from the Melaka Islamic Religious Council (MAIM) was distributed in a hall decorated with party flags.
“We don’t want party politics to take over the government, where one is asked which party they support when receiving aid. Then if you don’t support me, you won’t get the aid.
“That is a sickness that burdens the people of Melaka today. I’m confident that the MAIM aid distributed recently was an agenda that was not pure in heart and irresponsible… advising recipients to support them and so on,” he said.
Idris said this went against the beliefs of Islam, which he said teaches its believers to help all of those in need, regardless of their backgrounds.
“Islam doesn’t distinguish between races. Islam doesn’t distinguish between political backgrounds. If we really say that we are a Malay government that upholds Islam, then there should not be any political discrimination in giving aid to the people of Melaka,” he said.
Concerning his defection from BN that triggered the state polls, Idris denied withdrawing support from incumbent chief minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali to further his own pursuit to become chief minister.
He said if becoming chief minister was his main goal, such an objective could have been achieved a long time ago.
“I don’t see that as a solid enough reason to cause such a major shift to happen in Melaka. If my goal was to become the chief minister again, it would have happened long ago,” he said.
“Because when the (federal) government changed due to the Sheraton Move (last year) there were already offers at the time for me to be with them (PH) and they invited me to lead Melaka.
“And I didn’t accept it, because I advised the PH government then to give BN a chance to lead (the state) and then we’ll see how things go,” he said.
When touching on why he withdrew his support from Sulaiman, Idris reiterated the apparent lack of leadership and the yes-man attitude of Sulaiman towards party seniors in Umno Melaka as the main causes.
Idris claimed Sulaiman was forcefully guided by other “figures” not part of the state government, likening it to a situation of “two lions on one mountain” with Melaka Umno chief and state legislative assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Abdul Rauf Yusoh the other alpha character.
“The (state assembly) speaker was a show-off and announced the assembly’s dissolution, while the chief minister sat on the side. Then a few more announcements were made on government procedures.
“So from there, we could see who the two lions were. What should have been done by the chief minister or the state secretary, was done by the speaker,” he said, referring to Ab Rauf.
“And we questioned his position as the (state) chairman of a political party and holding the speaker’s post, which is supposed to be impartial,” he said.
Melaka is set to go to the polls on November 20, with Nomination Day on November 8, for the 28 state seats set to be contested.
The need for a new Melaka government, which would be the third in as many years in the state, was triggered by the withdrawal of support for Umno’s Sulaiman by four assemblymen, causing him to lose the majority.
The four were Idris (Sungai Udang), Datuk Noor Azman Hassan (Pantai Kundur), Datuk Noor Effandi Ahmad (Telok Mas), and Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Pengkalan Batu).
Idris and Noor Azman were later sacked by Umno for their betrayal of the Barisan Nasional-led government, while Noor Effandi was also dismissed by Bersatu. Norhizam, formerly from DAP, is an Independent.