Friction among opposition parties mean that Pakatan Harapan is unlikely to win control of the Federal Government at the next General Election, according to Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow.
In a media interview, Chow said he based this assessment on the differences between his party and PAS, which had caused the breakup last year of the former opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat.
“As it stands, it is very difficult. My party, the supporters and voters, will not be able to endorse such a working relationship (between DAP and PAS)”, he said in an interview with Malaysiakini.
Chow has been head of Penang DAP since 1999, but was passed over for the chief ministership when Lim Guan Eng, the party secretary-general contested and won state and parliamentary constituencies in 2008.
His name has often been raised as an alternative to Lim, who has been accused of being authoritarian and dictatorial. Last week, Chow was endorsed as Lim’s possible successor, in light of two corruption charges brought against Lim.
The Malaysiakini interview, in three parts, were the first major piece of press attention in the English-language media in recent years.
Chow said Pakatan Harapan’s difficulty lay with PAS choosing to field candidates against both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan alliances.
Chow said Pakatan’s Malay-majority parties, PKR and Amanah, would come off worst if three-cornered fights were the norm. “Like it or not, the other party will come and contest the seats, it is a fact that we have to face, and move on. We have to, instead of being held to ransom, sort of. We want to break the hold.”
For that reason, a Pakatan Harapan victory in the General Election seemed unlikely and he suggested that Pakatan Harapan should campaign on their strengths, by highlighting their achievements in running the state governments of Penang and Selangor.
“So why not we go into elections with our strengths – that we have performed relatively well – we will be able to do much better if we are given the mandate again, instead of giving BN a chance to come back,” said Chow.
The alliance should focus people’s attention on providing Pakatan with a new mandate “and tell them that we will be able to deliver more”.