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'Half my soul is dead': PKR MP speaks his mind after Anwar 'trades principles for power' in Cabinet line-up

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim pens a poem in open opposition to the prime minister's decision to go back on a pledge to form a 'clean Cabinet'.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
PKR's Hassan Karim (centre) on the campaign trail for the 15th general election. Photo: Facebook
PKR's Hassan Karim (centre) on the campaign trail for the 15th general election. Photo: Facebook

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim has urged Anwar Ibrahim to stick to his principles, in the first public sign of friction among newly elected Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs over the prime minister's failure to fulfil his pledge not to include scandal-tainted leaders in his Cabinet.

Hassan, in a poem, recalled how Anwar had constantly assured voters that he would not "trade principles for power".

Hassan said armed with the full conviction of this assurance, he had spread the message "to every corner of this beloved land", urging people to support the call of reformasi.

"Yesterday I could still hear, you said we would not trade principles for power, so I believed," he wrote.

"But today, I am surprised by completely foreign phrases. I hear people talking about Machiavellianism and realpolitik."

Hassan said his stand could be interpreted as "naive", adding that he had now awakened from a "bad dream".

He said he felt ashamed that he decided to lock away pamphlets and texts of speeches of the past quarter of a century, in which he had promoted the call for reformasi, referring to Anwar's political battle cry in his two-decade fight against the Umno-led government.

"Now I'm ashamed of myself, I am ashamed to say those sacred words again," he added. 

"Half of my soul is dead, I feel defeat in a victory such as this that is bereft of integrity." 

He also urged Anwar to be truthful and forthright both "inside and outside".

Last Friday, Anwar announced Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as his deputy prime minister, despite the Umno president facing 47 corruption charges involving millions of ringgit.

The appointment also came despite Anwar's repeated pledge during the general election campaign that his government would not include scandal-tainted politicians.

The move sparked public outrage, with some PH politicians forced to defend the decision to include Zahid as necessary in order for Anwar to stay in power.

Zahid, who is also the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, was instrumental in getting his coalition to support Anwar en bloc, despite strong objection from his MPs as well as senior Umno leaders to the move to ignore a resolution at the party's assembly last year against forging any alliance with Anwar or DAP.

Prior to the Cabinet announcement, Hassan was among several MPs including newly appointed minister Nik Nazmi Nik Amad who had cautioned Anwar against appointing those embroiled in ongoing court cases.

In a Facebook post last week, he said he had campaigned based on PH's main policy on the fight against corruption, and urged Anwar to "form a Cabinet that is clean from the symptoms of corruption and breach of trust"

"This criteria should be used fairly for all MPs, whether from PH or BN, or from any other coalition parties in the unity government."

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