KUCHING, Jan 22: A state Pakatan Harapan (PH) leader is confident that Chinese votes won’t be swayed with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in their camp as the former premier is a lesser evil compared to the present prime minister.
“If you compare Dr Mahathir and (Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak), the abilities of the two leaders, damage done by the two leaders and compare between UMNO and Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia), the choice is clear,” said state Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen.
“(The ability) of Najib is nothing compared to Mahathir and UMNO has done so much damage,” he said when asked whether the Chinese will vote Opposition again because of Dr Mahathir.
PH had announced that Dr Mahathir will be its candidate for prime minister and Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail his deputy should the coalition make it to Putrajaya.
The Opposition had also announced that seat allocations have been finalised. In Sarawak, PH leaders had announced that state PKR and DAP will contest the same seats each contested in the 2013 elections, while Amanah will go for seats contested by PAS.
In GE13, DAP won five seats out of the 10 seats contested, PKR won one seat out of the 15 seats contested and PAS lost all seats they contested.
The seats won are predominately in Chinese urban areas and political observers are wondering whether the Opposition can retain Chinese voters’ support with Dr Mahathir on board as the former premier is widely blamed for initiating racist policies.
Nevertheless, Chong is not worried over Chinese votes, and he is confident of the Malays’ support in West Malaysia too as a “Malay tsunami is in the making.”
“Given the present situation and sentiment in West Malaysia, PH can capture more than 100 seats, together with 10 seats from Sarawak, to further consolidate the power to change government,” he told reporters.
Chong, who is also state DAP chairman and Bandar Kuching MP, said the most important thing is to bring change in order to start afresh.
He stressed that the Opposition had system reform in place to check the power of the prime minister should they win the coming general election and Dr Mahathir becomes the PM again.
These reforms include limiting the tenure of the prime minister to a maximum of two terms, ensuring the prime minister and finance minister posts cannot be held by the same individual, and a huge cut in the allocation for the PM’s Department.
Currently, the PM Department’s allocation ranks the fourth in terms of overall fund allocation, after Education, Health and Defense Ministries.
Other reforms include setting up an independent Parliament committee with members from both side of the political divide to oversee the administrative power of the country and an independent Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission which is not under the Prime Minister’s Office.
“When Dr Mahathir is the Prime Minister again, his power will be governed. This is what we want, ruled by law and not by man,” Chong said. – Dayak Daily