KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Should a snap election be called next week, PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said the party is ready. And so is Pakatan Harapan (PH).
As much as they would prefer not to dive into a general election in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and a barely recovering economy, the Lembah Pantai MP said parties within the coalition have already kick-started election planning.
“A lot of seat negotiations, for example, have already started and some of the machinery has been put in place.
“The formula has been… seats that have been won before as well as traditional seats, there will be no questions about those.
“At this point, I believe we are more than ready in terms of our seats… so we will be more ready than Bersatu and some of the other parties,” he told Malay Mail.
Sentiments on the ground
Several months earlier, however, this was not the case though, but according to Fahmi, the Slim by-election and Sabah state election changed the views of many PH MPs as they gave respective parties within the coalition an overview of supporters’ sentiments on the ground.
“Several months ago, we didn’t have Slim (by-election), we didn’t have the Sabah state election.
“Sabah was also an opportunity for us to activate our machinery at the central level and we managed to make some major inroads despite some people asking us why we didn’t contest under the Warisan logo.
“If you look at Sook, Sabah during GE14, when Warisan contested with their logo, they got only 18 per cent of the vote share.
“This time around with the PKR logo, our candidate got 32 per cent of the vote share. That is quite a big increase in support,” he pointed out.
At the same time, Fahmi said election preparedness has become the main focus now as PH gets ready for the Sarawak state election that is due next September.
“Whether we like it or not, by next year it needs to happen,” he said.
The Sarawak state polls are conducted every five years but most people think it will take place by the end of this year.
Snap election unnecessary
However, Fahmi said a snap general election at this point is not necessary and instead, MPs can work out something including a working truce.
“To me, the way to solve the political impasse, the political problem of instability is through a political solution.
“Either MPs come up with a working truce — something that was proposed by Anthony Loke — or you allow for a peaceful transfer of power to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.
Loke is DAP’s Seremban MP and Anwar is PKR president, Port Dickson MP as well as the Opposition leader.
In August, Loke mooted a political ceasefire between Perikatan Nasional (PN) and the Opposition bloc.
The DAP organising secretary, however, set several conditions before the Opposition can accept any truce deal with the PN government.
But if a general election is not called anytime soon, Fahmi said PH is not worried about more defectors surfacing.
In late February, then PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali led 10 MPs out of the party to support PN, triggering one of the country’s worst political crises and shortening the rule of PH, the coalition he helped put in power.
Asked if there will be any more defectors, Fahmi said: “No, I don’t think so”.
Fahmi however did not seem to see the irony of this statement as Anwar’s recent announcement that he has the numbers to form a new government rests on PN MPs and/or entire parties crossing over to join PH.
“Because of Anwar’s announcement, there is an opportunity for a reset and reconfiguration,” he added.
Unstable Perikatan Nasional
Fahmi pointed out that PH has an advantage in the case of an early general election citing PN’s instability.
“After the Langkah Sheraton, PN has shown it is so unstable. They are like the Malay saying telur di hujung tanduk, or retak menanti belah — a situation about to implode.
“It may seem like they are peaceful but whatever peace they have, it’s an unhappy one,” he said.
Citing another example, Fahmi referred to the recently concluded Sabah state election which saw decisions unilaterally made by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is Bersatu president.
“My position has been, whoever wins in Sabah, Muhyiddin loses.
“We’ve seen that, even though Bung had to bite the bullet.
“But there are grumblings on the ground and I can see a tectonic shift in Malaysian politics with the way Muhyiddin handled both the unilateral announcement of Hajiji as chief minister candidate before elections began on nomination day, as well as his insistence on Hajiji being appointed as the chief minister after the election results,” said Fahmi.
Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin is Sabah Barisan Nasional state election director and Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor is Sabah PN chief as well as Sabah chief minister.
Among others, the PAS-Umno Muafakat Nasional pact has been pressuring the prime minister to call for snap polls.
In June, both Umno and PAS reportedly said they were finalising preparations to face the 15 general election, hinting that the snap poll is expected to be called after pending matters in PN and Bersatu are resolved.