KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — Political parties and political coalitions may have to form pragmatic alliances to work together after the 15th general elections (GE15) due to be called next year, as the model of a single coalition government — which the longest-ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) had practised for decades — is now a thing of the past, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke reportedly said.
Loke noted that Pakatan Harapan (PH) was able to form a single coalition government after the May 2018 elections before its February 2020 collapse, but reportedly indicated the multi-coalition model of government will continue to be part of Malaysia’s political landscape.
“Even BN is not confident they can form a government on their own... If you ask today if Umno or BN have a fixed formula to regain their strength, I don’t think so. So do we (Pakatan Harapan). I think we are still searching,” he was quoted saying in an interview with news portal The Vibes.
Loke believed it would be unlikely for political parties to strike such political alliances before the general election, and said it would likely take place after election results.
“I think the scenario will be post-election, depending on what kind of strengths each coalition has. But whether or not it will happen will be based on the wisdom of the leadership of each coalition,” the former minister said, noting that this would require a “level-headed, pragmatic and realistic” approach on how to move the government forward.
“I don’t think horse-trading or negotiation will take place before the election. Depending on the outcome of the polls, then I think parties and coalitions will have to think rationally about what is the way forward for the country,” the former transport minister added.
In the same interview, Loke said Malaysia’s multiracial composition should be reflected in any government formed, and said there is a need to state clear policies for political alliances or cooperation.
He also noted that the federal government and PH had also signed on such cooperation via a memorandum of understanding (MoU), noting: “To a certain extent, the signing of the memorandum of understanding has opened up some possibilities, which people never thought of before. We were, of course, criticised by some, but until today I will still defend it as the right thing to do.
“We have not sacrificed any of our principles, we know what we want to achieve. The anti-hopping law, for example, would not be possible without some form of understanding between the government and opposition,” he said.
Loke was also quoted saying that Malaysian politics is not a zero-sum game where the winner takes all and losers lose all, and that there must be some sort of compromise and understanding moving forward.
Last September, PH leaders and the prime minister signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Transformation and Political Stability as a truce to enable Malaysia’s socio-economic recovery from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MoU covered six initiatives for the bipartisan cooperation between the government and the federal opposition, namely the strengthening of plans to fight Covid-19, transformation of the administration, parliamentary reforms, the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63), ensuring judicial independence and the establishment of a bipartisan steering committee.