Friday, May 20, 2022

New DAP boss hints at ‘structural change’ in PH next GE

Anthony Loke also calls for a shift from the emphasis on who will become prime minister.

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DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke has hinted at changes in the way that Pakatan Harapan (PH) will contest the next general election, including a possible break from more than two decades of the strategy of pushing Anwar Ibrahim as candidate for prime minister, in remarks that point to the opposition coalition struggling to stay relevant after its historic rise and fall since the last polls.

Loke also underlined the need for parties to agree on the use of a common logo, weeks after PKR president Anwar’s decision to ditch the coalition’s logo during the Johor state election.

“If we can’t even fulfil this condition, then PH’s structure definitely has to be changed,” Loke, who took over from DAP strongman Lim Guan Eng two weeks ago to helm PH’s most influential component, told Chinese-language daily Sin Chew.

“I think that Anwar understands this very well,” he added. “You are facing a general election. You cannot, as the leader of PH, not use your own logo.”

PKR had contested in the recent Johor election using its own oval-shaped logo, leaving fellow PH components DAP and Amanah alone in using the coalition’s banner which it adopted after winning the federal government in 2018.

This followed the party’s dismal performance at the earlier elections in Melaka and Sarawak.

PKR’s decision to contest under its own logo had sparked questions about unity and stability within the coalition, with DAP and Amanah saying that political allies and coalition partners should “stay together in good times, and in bad times”.

“As a coalition, Amanah and DAP would prefer all PH allies to unite under the same symbol with a common purpose and a shared political agenda,” the parties had said.

Loke said if PH could not even negotiate and come to a decision on the use of a common logo, its structure would “definitely have to change”.

“Relationships will also be different, if that happens,” he said, adding however that he still has confidence in Anwar.

“We hope we can settle this issue as much as possible and present a united front, where we are heading in the same direction and on the same mission together.

“Not just our policies and ideologies. Our steps must be in unison, then only can we build up voters’ confidence in us.”

PM candidate

Loke said that PH’s strategy for the 15th general election, which must be called by May next year, should shift from emphasising who will become the prime minister.

Loke said there was “great resentment towards political figures” among the voters.

“If you only talk about who becomes prime minister, to the voters, politicians only want power.”

He also said that PH’s politics should be based on agenda and not personality driven.

“We should discuss what our agenda is, what is the power for, what is our agenda, and not just talk about who should be prime minister.

“The question of who will be prime minister will be known when the time comes, with the election results.”

Anwar has been the prime ministerial candidate for every opposition coalition since the 1999 general election, a year after he was sacked from the government by then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Loke said that “so far”, Anwar was still the coalition’s nominee for prime minister.

“But I say, the main thing is how we can win back the people’s confidence.

“If we win their confidence and we win a majority of the seats in Parliament, then the problem of who will be prime minister can definitely be solved within 24 hours,” he added.

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