IT is possible for old foes such as DAP and Umno to be partners in the new normal, Selangor speaker Ng Suee Lim said.
The Sekinchan assemblyman said he had supported the Perak DAP chairman’s suggestion for the party to work with Umno last month in the state after menteri besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu failed a confidence motion in the state assembly and subsequently resigned.
Ng, who is Selangor DAP vice-chairman, said although the proposal had drawn a lot of criticism, cooperation between the rival parties was possible if there was mutual understanding and consensus.
“As long as there is common ground, it is acceptable. Perak Umno has good politicians as well as bad. As long as everyone agrees to shift towards the centre and govern with consensus, DAP can cooperate with Umno.
Speculation has run rife about a new coalition being formed to oust the Bersatu-led Perikatan Nasional government after Umno MPs withdrew their support last week for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, leaving him without a majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
This was after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim announced in September that he had the numbers to remove Muhyiddin from office.
More than 20 MPs, several of them from Umno, have since filed for a confidence motion against Muhyiddin.
The prime minister appears to have pre-empted his rivals for power, however, by getting the king to declare a state of emergency, ostensibly because the Covid-19 epidemic has reached crisis point.
Emergency rule is to last until August 1 unless the outbreak is checked before then.
Critics have said the emergency laws are unnecessary to curb the spread of the coronavirus and was aimed at silencing political opposition to the PN government.
Ng said the “new normal” in politics were exemplified by Umno and PAS, who were political rivals for six decades but sealed a pact to cooperate with each other in 2019 under Muafakat Nasional.
“If the two parties can set aside their past enmity to cooperate, there’s no reason why Pakatan Harapan parties cannot do the same and work with Umno.
“As long as Umno commits to centrist politics, then we can discuss anything,” Ng added.
‘Anything is possible’
Ng said some DAP supporters are starting to warm up to the idea.
“I believe it’ll be hard (for voters) to accept at first, but we only need to give them some time. Now, when we listen to feedback on the idea, it is being considered, whereas this would’ve been completely unthinkable in the past.
“Of course, no cooperation has started yet.
“But there is nothing wrong in dreaming. If you can dream about it (cooperation) then the possibility is there. We are simply open to such a possibility.”
DAP’s top leaders have before this said they could never accept working with a corrupt Umno, and in 2018 had made then prime minister Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandals the focal point of PH’s election campaign.
Umno, meanwhile, has always vilified DAP, accusing the largely ethnic Chinese party of an agenda to suppress Malays.
Ng acknowledged this, adding that in Selangor, DAP had been fighting Umno for more than 10 years.
But he said: “Even though Umno is in a bad state right now, the party is not filled with irredeemable individuals”.
Asked if such cooperation is possible at the state or federal level, Ng said that if it was for the good of the people, then anything is possible.
“I want to stress that the basis of such cooperation should not be with DAP as the main benefactor, but with the people first. If the country’s future is protected, then cooperation is possible.
“But if there’s no room for such an alliance, then let’s not waste time,” he said.
In Perak last month, Nga earned harsh criticism from the DAP grassroots for broaching the idea that the party could work with Umno to install a new Perak Menteri Besar and form a new government.
Nga clarified that DAP’s cooperation would not be without conditions and that negotiations had to be held first. Issues like good governance, transparency, being anti-corruption and the inclusion of other PH parties PKR and Amanah, were non-negotiables, he said.
However, the Perak crisis was resolved after Umno’s Saarani Mohammad was sworn in as the 14th menteri besar, rendering the topic of cooperation with DAP a moot point.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT