PETALING JAYA – Two Amanah leaders and a PPBM official have dismissed a Singapore Straits Times report speculating that Pakatan Harapan will lose votes as a result of the current spat between former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Selangor royal house.
Amanah vice-president Mujahid Yusof Rawa and his party’s communication chief, Khalid Samad, said Malaysian voters were mature enough to see the difference between personal issues and national issues.
PPBM information chief Kamarudin Md Nor said he believed the affair had not caused an erosion of support for Mahathir.
The Straits Times report quoted analysts as saying that Pakatan politicians generally valued their relations with the nobility even if Mahathir, the chairman of the coalition, didn’t.
The report said there was some fear that the spat could affect Malay support for Pakatan.
Mujahid told FMT he was sure that voters would see Mahathir’s run-in with the sultan as a small issue compared to their worries over the high cost of living and their anger over corruption.
He said the tiff was caused by “nothing more” than Mahathir’s remark about Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Bugis ancestry.
At an anti-government rally on Oct 14, Mahathir called Najib a descendent of a Bugis pirate. The remark outraged members of the Bugis communities in Malaysia and Indonesia as well the Johor and Selangor royals, who have Bugis roots.
The Selangor ruler reprimanded Mahathir in a press interview last week, saying the Pakatan chairman’s “anger would burn the whole country”.
Mahathir subsequently announced that he and his wife, Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, would return the awards that the Selangor palace conferred on them when he was in power.
Mujahid said it was not right for anyone to drag the royal institution into politics. He said people must respect the royal households’ stand against interfering in partisan politics.
Khalid agreed, saying he believed the Malays would want to defend the neutrality of the royal institution and were therefore unlikely to let the spat affect their decision as voters.
“If we make a decision based on the issue, it means the royalty no longer has its neutral element,” he said. “The royal institution is neutral and should remain so.”
He accused Sungei Besar Umno division chief Jamal Yunos of politicising the issue and therefore of attempting to contaminate the royal institution.
Kamarudin referred to the Facebook post about the decision by Mahathir and Siti Hasmah to return their state awards, noting that it attracted expressions of support for the Pakatan chairman.
“Many commented on Mahathir’s Facebook page and addressed him as someone who has integrity and called him a noble person,” he said.