Harapan Must Not Work With Umno Court Cluster Before Or After Ge15 Youth Chief
As PKR and certain Umno factions continue to toy with a possible collaboration ahead of the 15th general election (GE15), a Pakatan Harapan leader has warned that this could chip away at the coalition's support base.
Newly-minted Harapan Youth chief Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin said any cooperation with Umno, before or after GE15, must not involve the "court cluster" of leaders facing graft charges.
"You should not (work with the court cluster). If we head in that direction, the biggest concern is how do we explain this to the people?
"How do you justify this? For years we fought corruption and abuse of power, but suddenly when we are facing the election, or after the election, we work with these sorts of people.
"What do we tell the people, who all this while supported and believed in our reform agenda?" Shazni told Malaysiakini during an interview on Tuesday.
The "court cluster" includes Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the party's secretary-general Ahmad Maslan.
These Umno leaders were painted by opponents as being desperate and would do anything to save themselves from conviction.
One of the cluster leaders, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, had once lobbied Umno and BN to support PKR president Anwar Ibrahim - and critics of the group claimed that such efforts were still ongoing.
Ex-PM Najib Abdul Razak
Observers believe members of this group, who are also dead set against cooperating with Bersatu and Perikatan Nasional (PN), were supposed to have made up the "strong and formidable" majority that Anwar claimed to have last year.
The opposition leader has not ruled out cooperation with Umno in GE15, repeating his line that Harapan would work with anyone who supported their reform agenda.
Exploring ties with Umno in general, however, is not against Harapan's policies.
According to Shazni, the Harapan presidential council's position right now is that the coalition should be open to discussions with other opposition parties and with those who oppose the PN government as well.
However, he stressed that besides excluding Umno leaders charged with corruption, any talk of cooperation with other parties must be with Harapan as a coalition.
"Talks with Umno must not be only between Umno and one party in Harapan," he said.
He added that this applies to discussions with Harapan splinter parties Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) and Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) as well, and whether they can contest GE15 using Harapan's or a component party's logo.
Shazni's party Amanah, and Harapan component DAP are more open to cooperation with Pejuang - the party led by Anwar's nemesis, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim
This has been a sticking point for some in PKR, who view cooperation with Mahathir as a betrayal to Anwar - who was supposed to take over as prime minister before the Harapan government collapsed last year.
It was one of the reasons cited by PKR Youth in criticising Shazni's appointment as Harapan Youth chief.
To this, Shazni reiterated that the stance taken by Anwar and the Harapan presidential council does not prohibit engagement with any party that supports a reform agenda.
He also dismissed criticism against him as a small matter and said that cooperation among the youth wings of Amanah, DAP and PKR was still well and intact. - Mkini
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