Guan Eng: DAP won't follow if Anwar steps out of Harapan framework

Susan Loone
·4-min read
Guan Eng: DAP won't follow if Anwar steps out of Harapan framework
Guan Eng: DAP won't follow if Anwar steps out of Harapan framework

With Umno reaffirming its support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, questions abound if it is "game over" for Anwar Ibrahim to be prime minister.

The PKR president has been contending for the PM's post since he was sacked from Umno and government in 1998.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng speaks about the party's future in Harapan, PKR working with Umno to reclaim the federal government, and if DAP will back Anwar as PM if Umno is in the equation.

DAP made it clear that PKR needs to clarify its position.

Lim also reiterated that working with Umno or with those who betrayed the people's GE14 mandate was untenable as "traitors die a thousand miserable deaths alone, as they have nothing to trade except the naked pursuit of power."

Below is the Q&A session from the interview.

Malaysiakini: What happens now since it appears like 'game over' for Anwar (after Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reaffirmed the party's support for PN?)

Guan Eng: DAP never contended for the post of PM. It was always Anwar under Pakatan Harapan. If he could not get the numbers, then it was (we would back) former Sabah chief minister and Warisan chief Shafie Apdal. But since it was Anwar who made the play, this question should be answered by him.

What is DAP's future plan? Will you still remain by Anwar as he makes his bid for PM now that it seems like his plan has backfired?

As far as we are concerned, we will stick by Pakatan Harapan. A meeting has yet to be held. But if there is any reconsideration, it will be brought up during the meeting.

When is the meeting?

Probably after the MCO. Reading from various statements issued, Anwar still harbours hope that something will happen. However, this is best answered by Anwar.

What do you mean by 'something will happen?'

Relying on Umno as a political party is just not viable. Not politically tenable at all. Although we have made our position clear, there are various parties that misrepresent DAP's position. The government media does not help, especially the Chinese newspapers, which keep weaving lies to misrepresent our position.

This is something we need to address. I have never met any Umno leader about this (working together to topple PN).

They (the media) did this (misrepresenting me) knowing very well I am DAP secretary-general and I speak for the party.

There is a current public impression that Harapan is not very cohesive anymore and that DAP and Amanah have been left behind.

That impression would need to be corrected by PKR because they are leading this effort. This impression probably came about due to the latest power play, where it appears to be decided by one political party.

It is necessary to go back to our fundamental principles and restore the mandate of GE14 based on 109 MPs. We cannot rely on parties rejected by the people.

(Note: Parliament has 222 seats. In February, Muhyiddin toppled the Harapan government with a majority of two MPs, including 10 from PKR, and become prime minister).

This type of relationship, based on those willing to trade principles won’t last very long. I have said many times and will repeat: traitors die a thousand miserable deaths alone. Because they have nothing to trade except their naked pursuit for power.

Muhyiddin Yassin
Muhyiddin Yassin

For us, even though we may not succeed, there is still the bedrock of principles, and seeds of hope which will live on. The torch of hope will continue to flame on. The seeds may not blossom so fast but may bloom after five years.

For traitors only trade power. Take that away and there is nothing left for the future. No past, present, or future. They are all phantoms, trading only with power and positions. Their names live on in infamy.

How can you establish a principled government based on this?

Whatever you say of Umno, they stand on their own. There is no betrayal except for a few who jumped ship. If we cooperate with them as a party, we are no different, similar to those who jumped ship to form a backdoor government.

What happens if Anwar wants to continue to work with Umno?

We need to work this out within the Harapan framework. We must not stray too far from this.

Is there still a Pakatan Harapan?

There is, but it seems the Harapan element is not projected. It seems like more of an individual party rather than a cohesive coalition or concerted effort by Harapan.

Have you made known your misgivings to Anwar?

When we do meet, Anwar totally agrees with us.

How long will DAP withstand this? What's your limit?

We will continue as long as it is Harapan's stand and position. DAP does not make individualistic decisions. As long as it is Harapan's position, we go along, or else we will not be part of it.

Anwar knows he needs DAP and Amanah to succeed. Just as we in DAP need PKR and Amanah. But if he does something out of the Harapan framework, DAP will not follow. We believe Amanah will do the same.

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