Pakatan Rakyat leaders. Credit: nst.com.my
The re-branding of the opposing coalition from Barisan Rakayat (People's Front) to a formal Pakatan Rakyat (People Union) may just work if the parties involves (PAS, DAP, PKR) work on common grounds such as justice and fairness.
Should there be clashes especially on religion and racial issues, the coalition formation could disintegrated overnight. Over the past years, DAP has been struggling for Chinese rights and pretty much disagreed on Malaysia being an Islamic state (as advocated by PAS). PAS meanwhile has been mooting the idea that Malaysia should be rule according to Islamic laws.
During the last Malaysia General Election 2008, both DAP and PAS have toned down their sentiments on religion and racial issues and they managed to attract voters confidence. In fact, so long as DAP, PAS and PKR work on common ground to rid of Barisan National as the ruling government and didn't provoke voters on religion and racial issues, voters support on Pakatan Rakyat would strengthen.
However, with Pakatan Rakyat only establishing their footing on West Malaysia, Anwar need to take into consideration the other opposing parties from Sabah and Sarawak. Otherwise, Pakatan Rakyat would just be a mild threat to the Barisan Nasional. Anwar need to seriously consider the East Malaysia factor as the two states of Sabah and Sarawak has becoming a winning bastion for the federal Barisan Nasional.
Pakatan Rakyat joined press statement (not printed on main stream media):
Statement by the Leadership of KeADILan, DAP and PAS
The leaders of KeADILan, DAP and PAS met today in furtherance of the meeting held on the 18th of March 2008.
Today’s meeting was attended by, among others, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, YB Lim Kit Siang, YB Dato’ Seri Tuan Guru Haji Abdul Hadi Awang and YB Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
In today’s meeting, we have proposed to consolidate the cooperation between the three parties under the name “PAKATAN RAKYAT.” This name has been proposed pending confirmation by the respective parties.
Pakatan Rakyat pledges to uphold the rights and interests of all Malaysians, regardless of religion or race, as enshrined in the Constitution.
With the results of the recent elections, the state governments of Kelantan, Kedah, Pulau Pinang, Perak and Selangor will be known as Pakatan Rakyat state governments. The policies of these governments will be conducted in accordance with the policies of Pakatan Rakyat.
To further mutual understanding regarding such policies, a convention of all Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives of Parliament and State Assemblies will be held the 27th of April, 2008.
We have developed and strengthened the structure of Pakatan Rakyat by creating under the Leadership Council, consisting of the leaders of the three parties, a Joint Secretariat consisting of three leaders each from each of the three parties. This Joint Secretariat will be tasked with building the foundation and framework of the Pakatan Rakyat for ratification by the Leadership Council.
Extracted from: nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/Frontpage/2201825/Article/index_html (Apr 02, 2008)
It's now called Pakatan Rakyat
By : Marc Lourdes
PETALING JAYA: The tripartite Pas-DAP-PKR grouping, which made significant gains in last month's general election, has agreed to a formal coalition called Pakatan Rakyat.
Bigwigs from the three ideologically diverse parties, including Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, met at the office of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday to discuss the arrangement.
In a joint statement, they said the name Pakatan Rakyat had been proposed pending official endorsement by the respective parties.
It is still uncertain whether the formalised coalition would seek an immediate registration, with Lim and Anwar non-committal on the matter when asked.
One of the understandings reached was that all state governments under their control (Kelantan, Penang, Perak, Kedah and Selangor) would conduct policies in accordance with those of Pakatan Rakyat.
Anwar said the coalition, which would be led collectively, would work towards common principles as published in the various party manifestos.
A joint secretariat, consisting three representatives of each party, has been formed to develop and strengthen the structure and framework of Pakatan Rakyat.
Asked about how Pas and DAP, which have very differing ideologies, would approach the coalition, Anwar said they worked together on principles like justice and fairness.
"We are committed to a reform programme backed by the spirit of the Constitution.
"I don't see any difficulty. We have reached a consensus," he said.
Questioned as to which party would dominate the coalition, Anwar replied that the dominant force was the rakyat.
"The agenda is clear. It makes no difference whoever is the menteri besar. They are tied to policies determined by Pakatan Rakyat."
Replying to questions on Pas' alleged intentions to form an Islamic state, Anwar and Abdul Hadi both said it was an issue that should not be made contentious any more.
"It was not mentioned in the Pas manifesto and has not been mentioned for a long time.
"It is no longer an issue," Anwar said.
Abdul Hadi said the issue should not be raised to create trouble and that the truth was that Islam as a religion supported basic principles such as fighting corruption and creating good governance.
Speaking on the failed attempt to create a workable coalition via the Barisan Alternatif in 1999, Lim said they had learnt the lesson from that first, abortive attempt at forming a multi-ethnic opposition front.
"We have learnt and come together on common principles that the people can support," he said.
In a telephone interview later, Lim said he expected the Pakatan Rakyat framework to be finalised in a matter of weeks.
He added that DAP had no relationship with Pas prior to March 8, but the message from the people on that day was that they wanted the parties to work together to restore justice, freedom and democracy.
"The challenge is for us to rise to the expectations of the people."
A convention of all Pakatan Rakyat parliamentary and state assembly representatives will be held on April 27 to further the understanding of the coalition's policies.
On Monday night, at a rally at Stadium Melawati in Shah Alam, Abdul Hadi spoke about the formation of the coalition, saying it would welcome defecting Barisan Nasional parliamentarians.