Saifuddin: 2013 vote is not true support for Pakatan
SHAH ALAH: Former Umno supreme council member Saifuddin Abdullah has poured cold water on the opposition Pakatan Rakyat claims of popular support based on their combined share of the total votes in the 2013 general election.
He cautioned today that half the voters chose the opposition candidate only because they did not support the Barisan Nasional government.
It was not because they chose the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, he said in a media interview.
Saifuddin left Umno and joined PKR last month and now heads the secretariat of the new Pakatan Harapan coalition comprising PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara.
He said in an interview with NST Online that the gains made by DAP, PKR, and PAS at the last general election did not accurately reflect popular support for the opposition alliance.
Opposition leaders such as Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng have frequently used the total votes cast for opposition candidates in 2013 – amounting to 50.8 percent of all votes – as an indicator of the people’s support for Pakatan Rakyat.
However, Saifuddin came to a different conclusion after studying the 2013 results.
“The last general election told us two things: first, that half the voters chose the opposition only because they did not support the government, and not because they wanted Pakatan,” he said, according to NST Online. “Second, half of Malay voters don’t want Umno, but if you don’t vote for Umno, then who?”
Saifuddin, speaking at the PKR national congress here, said that Pakatan Harapan must first solve its internal disputes before “going to war” at the next general election, which must be held by June 2018.
“We cannot go to war alone. We need to unite and refrain from fighting each other. We need to resolve our differences without going to the media,” said Saifuddin.
Differences between the Islamic party, PAS, and the secular DAP led to the break-up of Pakatan Rakyat earlier this year. The resounding defeat of pro-Pakatan PAS leaders at the party’s elections led to the formation of the breakaway Amanah.
Saifuddin said that Pakatan Harapan needed centrist policies to counter the rightist and racial policies of Barisan Nasional, in order to win the people’s true support.