KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) will help Pakatan Harapan win over Malay-Muslim voters, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has said.
The PH chief secretary said that the upcoming general election would be determined by the Malay-Muslim vote as all parties were gearing up to capture that segment of the electorate.
“The current generation of Malay-Muslims especially the younger crowd recognises two key figures ― Dr M and (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim as iconic figures in the country’s politics.
“Together they represent the aspirations of that segment of voters, and this time the Opposition is equipped like never before to win the hearts and minds of those from the Felda areas…the heartland votes,” he said during a live Instagram interview with ProjekMMO yesterday.
“With him (Dr Mahathir) Malay-Muslim voters see someone who has an unquestionable track record in protecting and championing the cause of Malay rights and issues,” Saifuddin added.
He also sought to dispel the perception that the wishes of younger party members had been ignored with the nomination of the 93-year old as interim prime minister should the coalition take power.
“We have taken into account the opinions of the youth leaders from the youth wings of all four component parties ― PKR, DAP, Amanah and Pribumi and they were unanimous in lending their support.
“The decision to nominate Dr M was not a snap decision but was carefully and openly debated and deliberated on. We believe this is what will work best,” he said.
Saifuddin also sought to reassure all that the former premier was “a changed man” and that any decision made by him fully incorporated the views and input of the all the coalition’s organs.
“Anyone who has sat through a meeting chaired by Dr M when he was Umno president and now will tell you there is a sharp difference…it is no longer a roomful of people saying ‘Yes Sir’, he is not dictating PH.
“All component parties, all members in PH are equals and we do not follow the BN concept of needing an ‘Abang Long’ or big brother and do not believe in letting one dominating voice silence others,” he said.
Saifuddin said Dr Mahathir’s inclusion within PH was a tactical move which took into account Dr Mahathir’s appeal among voters.
“When Dr M initially met Anwar last year, the picture of them shaking hands and smiling went viral in such a pervasive way that we knew he still had the power and charisma to get such a reaction from the people,” he said.
“Of course there are people who are unhappy with Dr M, those who had to brave teargas, water cannons and riot police during the Reformasi of the 1990’s and we highly respect them and their sacrifices, but we believe Dr Mahathir’s participation in the opposition will be decisive in capturing Putrajaya.”