PETALING JAYA • Malaysia's opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) has formed an electoral pact with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), following the signing of an agreement yesterday.
PPBM is the opposition party formed by ex-Umno leaders with former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad as its chairman.
Calling PPBM "the new kid on the block", Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the opposition parties, which have always worked together, will now have one more party to work with.
However, when asked why PPBM did not simply join the PH coalition, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah said the pact was the first step towards the country's next general election.
"The idea of a coalition is just a formality. Even this is just a formality. We have always been working together and we will continue.
"A lot of things can happen from now and the elections. People change and things change - we will see what happens," she said, after signing the agreement at PKR headquarters.
Other opposition parties were represented by Democratic Action Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin. Also present were PH secretary-general Saifuddin Abdullah and PKR vice-president Azmin Ali.
The seven-point agreement includes having only one candidate represent the coalition in elections of any level. PPBM will also negotiate with all opposition parties to ensure a one-on-one fight against the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in the next general election.
Despite much speculation that the parties will contest under a common logo, no mention was made of the matter at the signing yesterday.
Asked about negotiations with Islamist party Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), of which Amanah is a splinter group, Mr Muhyiddin said that PAS appeared to be willing to work with the coalition and PPBM.
He said: "We just had the first meeting, so we need to give it a chance. But we will certainly have a timeline.
"Their (PAS') willingness to discuss and talk to us is important. It shows that there is intent or interest. We just don't know what will be the conclusion."
He stressed that he would call for parties in the PH coalition to make way for PPBM to contest certain seats in the upcoming elections.
"It would make no sense for us to be here and not do anything to help the party win. So we will request to contest in places we know we can win.
"Ultimately we will discuss and winnability is important," Mr Muhyiddin said. "Our agreement is to win the elections first."
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK