Chin Tong: Let Tanjung Piai by-election be fresh start, time to strengthen Pakatan

Ida Lim
Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong today expressed hopes that the Tanjung Piai by-election this Saturday will mark a new phase for a government under a stronger Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong today expressed hopes that the Tanjung Piai by-election this Saturday will mark a new phase for a government under a stronger Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

Liew said it was time to strengthen Pakatan Harapan to work towards the consolidation of democratic gains made in the 2018 elections, when the coalition won federal power.

“I sincerely pray that the Tanjung Piai by-election will be the new beginning of the second phase of the Pakatan Harapan government.

“In this new beginning, I wish to see that our civil servants, members of the public and everyone else will share the confidence that this Pakatan Harapan government is here to stay,” he said in a speech in Pontian, pointing to history as a lesson.

Liew said that PH’s political rivals should not seek to disrupt the government via “backdoor” methods. 

“Even our opponents must realise that any attempt for a “backdoor” government will not work out. There is no point to try to break up this government in mid-term.

“I am sure majority of the rakyat would like to see this government be given its full mandate of five years to perform. It begins here in Tanjung Piai,” he said.

Earlier in the same speech text that was made available to Malay Mail, Liew retraced the hard-earned electoral victories in the past by the former opposition coalition against Barisan Nasional (BN), also citing the example of the struggles involved in convincing civil servants in Penang that the Pakatan parties would survive as the Penang government after taking over from BN in the 2008 national polls.

“Many civil servants thought the state government would not survive. Although most of them had no malicious intent, they were afraid of cooperating with the new state government, for fear of persecution if the BN government made a comeback,” Liew said in a statement today.

Liew added that 2008 had saw weekly protests held by Penang Umno against the Penang state government and the regular occurrence of racial statements aimed at destabilising the Penang administration then.

He said the Permatang Pauh by-election in August 2008 with a resounding majority victory by PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had resulted in a sudden change of mood among the Penang civil service, noting that it was as if the results then had convinced the state civil servants that the “government of the day would stay for the long haul”.

“They began to believe that it was time to get down to work and make things happen. They were confident that the Pakatan government would not be easily rocked despite the onslaught by the then BN-controlled media,” he said.

Liew’s speech in calling for PH to be strengthened comes after what he described as a “crisis” last month, referring to attempts to paint DAP as alleged terrorists or communists and also of an alleged plot to attempt to oust DAP and Amanah from the PH government.

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