Malaysia's smaller opposition parties to launch alliance as Pakatan Harapan falters

Lina Soo showing a copy of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Lina Soo showing a copy of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SIBU (The Star/Asia News Network) - Seven opposition political parties across Malaysia are set to launch a new alliance following the break down of the main alliance of Pakatan Raykat and increasing fragmentation of the opposition.

The new coalition, called Gabungan Rakyat Saksama (Saksama), will be launched soon within the next two months, said Sarawak Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo at a press conference on Sunday (July 10). 

"We will be an alternative political force to (ruling coalition) Barisan. We will also form a shadow Cabinet as we will be the new ruling party in the waiting," she said. 

She said the Pakatan Rakyat had failed to pose a stiff challenge to the  Barisan Nasional coalition of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. 

PR, made up of the largest opposition parties - Chinese-oriented Democratic Action Party (DAP), Anwar Ibraim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), was formed soon after the opposition won a record five of Malaysia’s 13 states in the 2008 polls.

But it has fallen into disarray after the jailing of Anwar last year on a sodomy conviction and the death of PAS leader Nik Aziz. It is now defunct. 

A PAS splinter called Amanah has teamed up with DAP and PKR to form a new alliance called Pakatan Harapan, but the alliance has so far failed to make its mark, losing two by-elections to BN by big margins this year. 

Saksama comprises STAR, Parti Sejahtera Angkatan Perpaduan Sabah (SAPU), Pertubuhan Perpaduan Rakyat Kebangsaan Sabah (Perpaduan), Malaysia United People's Party (MUPP), Parti Kebangsaan Sabah (PKS), Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) and the People’s Alternative Party from the peninsula. 

"MUPP under its president Philip Among initiated this new coalition last month. Seven political parties have agreed to be part of it and we are expecting more to join us,” Soo said. 

She said an application to register the party has been made with the Registry of Societies. “We are expecting to launch it in one or two months’ time,” said Soo. 

Soo added that the new Opposition coalition was being set up in preparation for the next general election where all parties were equal partners in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963. 

The next election is due to be held by May 2018 but some analysts say Najib may call it next year.