There are rumblings from within Pakatan Harapan (PH) that its top leadership is seeking to stall a bid by the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance, or Muda, to become part of the coalition, even as parties rush to finalise talks on seats and other preparations for the 15th general election (GE15), MalaysiaNow has learnt.
Several sources from PH, citing negotiations with Muda as well as socialist party PSM on getting them on board the opposition coalition, said these had met with stiff resistance from PKR.
They also said the recent announcement by the PH Presidential Council on the formation of a committee to study cooperation with Muda and PSM was a ploy to delay a decision on them becoming part of PH.
"Forming a committee is another way of delaying the decision to take in Muda, because there are more pressing concerns for PH parties, especially PKR, to address rather than showing it is a youthful coalition," said one Amanah MP privy to earlier discussions related to Muda.
When contacted, Muda and PSM leaders did not directly respond to the claims, but said negotiations on cooperating under the PH banner were ongoing.
PSM secretary-general Sivarajan Arumugam said the current negotiations were nothing new, and that similar attempts were made in the past to avoid clashes between his party and others from the opposition.
"At GE14, too, we tried to forge cooperation, but there was no meeting point in the demands and offers by PH at that time," he said, adding that his party was "sincere" in wanting to cooperate with PH to ensure the defeat of Perikatan Nasional and Barisan Nasional.
His counterpart in Muda, Amir Abd Hadi, agreed.
"It is a good step and hopefully the decision, whatever it is, will take into account the interests of the people in building a united front to face GE15," he said.
Last week, Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and three party leaders met with PH representatives as part of the ongoing negotiations, without any concrete outcome.
"The issues raised will be brought to the leadership at a Presidential Council meeting to be held in the near future," said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
On Sept 6, Syed Saddiq announced that his party, which has been branded itself as the voice of the youth, was applying to join PH.
It is understood that the announcement was talked over at length by PH leaders during a recent retreat to discuss the so-called "big tent" strategy, a euphemism for cooperation with those outside the four-party coalition.
A source in Amanah said some leaders in DAP were of the view that the party needed to attract more young voters and those under 21 years of age, who for the first time will be able to cast their ballots following the success of the Undi 18 movement once promoted by Syed Saddiq.
"However, many top PKR leaders are not convinced that Muda or, for that matter, PSM would add any value to PKR or PH.
"So this new committee is seen as a farce to delay discussions, and ultimately reject any attempt to bring them into the fold," the source, an MP from Amanah, told MalaysiaNow.