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Malaysia ex-opposition Rafizi makes comeback

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Rafizi Ramli says he is returning to the political arena to help Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Pakatan Harapan draw more supporters. RAFIZI RAMLI VIA FACEBOOK

Malaysia ex-opposition Rafizi makes comeback

A former star in Malaysia’s opposition ranks, Rafizi Ramli, is making a political comeback just days after the opposition lost heavily in the Johor state polls.

His remarks on his blog on March 15 appeared to criticise the leadership of his party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition alliance, for the weak state of opposition parties.

Both PKR and the PH presidential council are led by Anwar Ibrahim.

Rafizi, 44, was an influential PKR vice-president when he stepped out of active politics in 2019.

He said he is returning to the political arena to help both parties draw more supporters for the next general election.

He said he will be contesting in the upcoming PKR internal polls for the post of deputy president, possibly facing off against a strong ally of Seri Anwar, party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The PKR elections will be held in May, with formal nominations expected next month.

Apart from PKR, the other main members of PH are the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Amanah Negara.

“I have been urged by PKR and Pakatan Harapan supporters from the community to return to the political ring.

“It took me some time to think about it, as I wasn’t convinced I could make any difference as my views are shared only by the minority in Pakatan Harapan.

“The coalition should accept the Johor election results with an open heart, as we are not here only to win the election but to bring about idealistic and progressive politics to the people,” he said in his blog.

Malaysia’s next national polls isn’t due until the second half of next year, but is widely expected to be held this year.

The strong showing of Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Melaka state polls in November, and in the Johor polls last week, have led to calls in Umno for snap general election soon.

Rafizi said the present political scenario has become so muddled as parties that accuse each other of betrayal were willing to work together just to win elections.

He said one such strategy was the proposed “big tent” approach for PH and other opposition parties to cooperate so that they could defeat BN.

“Recently, I was made to understand that the Pakatan presidential council had agreed to discuss cooperating with Perikatan Nasional [PN] for the 15th [next] general election,” he said.

The two main parties in PN are Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which PH has been accusing of causing the collapse of the PH government in February 2020.

Malaysia’s federal government led by Mahathir Mohamad collapsed in 2020 when Bersatu left PH and joined up with a dozen MPs who left PKR.

Bersatu and the PKR rebels teamed up with PAS, Umno and other parties to form an uneasy federal alliance, led by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, who became prime minister in March 2020.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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