PAKATAN Harapan needs its old names as the opposition must form a collective front to face the coming general election, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said today.
In dismissing criticism that PH’s leadership is full of old faces, Nurul said PH needed people like Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) to reach rural Malays due to the lack of free media and democratic institutions.
“I make no pretences. PH is facing a difficult general election. We do not have a Pakatan Rakyat nationally anymore,” she said, referring to the old coalition that previously included PAS.
“It is an election to win and it is also ours’ to lose. Powers are concentrated in the hands of (Prime Minister) Najib Razak.
“With these realities in mind, it is crucial for us to understand that we have to work with different political tectonic plates, which includes the presence of a former prime minister, a former deputy prime minister, and a former Kedah menteri besar and Umno vice-president,” she said.
Nurul Izzah, who had played an instrumental role in ending months of internal bickering in the opposition coalition over the leadership line-up, said her job as a political activist was to take into account the sentiments nationwide, and to find the best solution.
“If we just take into account the urban sentiment, it is a different matter but we must take all sentiments into account, including those in the rural areas – those afflicting the Malays and Felda ground.
“As long as the reform-based pledges are being realised and we give ample room for participation.
“That will be our guiding principle… we have a pledge that prioritises the rakyat’s agenda,” she told reporters at a women’s forum in Seberang Jaya today.
Political analysts and observers, as well as detractors from BN, had criticised the long-awaited PH leadership line-up since it was announced early Friday morning, saying that the opposition coalition still relied on the same old faces.
Some said PH should have offered fresh faces while others remarked as if PH had no good leaders from the second echelon.
Bersatu chairman and former prime minister Dr Mahathir is chairman of PH while PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim is de facto leader. The PH president is PKR president and opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The three deputy presidents are Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, who was formerly Najib’s deputy prime minister; DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu.
Bersatu deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir, who was formerly Kedah Menteri Besar and an Umno vice-president; PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, and Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen were named PH vice-presidents.