PKR’s Saifuddin: Pakatan must step up bid to retake Kedah, but enough as opposition in Terengganu and Kelantan

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SHAH ALAM, March 18 — PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail urged Pakatan Harapan (PH) today to intensify its attempt to retake the Kedah state government in the upcoming state election that is expected to be held by mid-year.

Addressing over 3,000 party delegates and observers, Saifuddin, who is also PH secretary-general, however, said that PH has to sit out Terengganu and Kelantan and aim to be a strong Opposition in both states instead.

“We want to defend Negeri Sembilan, win in Selangor, and form the [state] government in Penang. In Kedah, we enter the state election to take over and helm the state government there.

“I don’t want to go [and aim too far for] Terengganu and Kelantan, we want to have a strong voice as the Opposition there. That’s logical,” he said during the closing speech at the party special congress at Stadium Malawati here.

Citing the no love lost between Kedah PAS’ Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Sanusi Md Nor and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Saifuddin said it’s not necessary for the latter to be present in the state and can leave it to his party’s right-hand men to lead the charge in taking over the state.

“I think the president (Anwar) does not need to be in Kedah and face the chief minister, let the generals be in front (to lead the effort) in taking over the state,” he added.

The Kedah state government has traditionally been held by Barisan Nasional, but was led by Pakatan Harapan former component Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia after the 2018 general election.

It is now led by Perikatan Nasional and its component PAS. The Islamist party had also governed the state between 2008 and 2013.

Saifuddin also chided the Opposition's top trio — Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, embattled former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Abdul Awang — for their absence during Prime Minister's Question Time (PMQ) session in Parliament every Tuesday, which is a first in its history.

He said that the Opposition trio has failed to fulfil their responsibility to serve as a check and balance for the government.

"This Parliament is a place of check and balance, this Parliament is a place to monitor government policies, this Parliament is a place to debate and argue, the prime minister was stuck in his chair for 30 minutes, ask any question, I have noticed how many weeks the leader of the opposition has not appeared, Pagoh is nowhere, Marang also was out of sight,” he said.

He also said that the Opposition leaders only showed their bravado outside the Parliament and withered when its time to face Anwar on the real stage.

"Outside you are a hero, you are strong and you defend religion and nation, when debating in Parliament you are not willing to face the fight like men," he added.

PKR held the special congress to address the upcoming state elections where more than 3,000 delegates and observers attended to see their president speak as the prime minister for the first time.