Several local opposition parties came together yesterday afternoon to hear how Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition achieved a historic victory at the polls across the Causeway, earlier this year.
The Pakatan Harapan ushered in Malaysia’s first transition of power since independence, at the watershed 2018 Malaysian General Election in May. Breaking the Barisan Nasional’s six-decade long grip on power, the opposition coalition in power toppled former Prime Minister Najib Razak who now faces corruption charges.
Guest speaker Chua Tian Chuang graced the event organised by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). Chua, a former Malaysian parliamentarian, serves as the Chief of Information of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
The PKR is one of four parties within the PH coalition, along with the Democratic Action Party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, and Parti Amanah. The PKR is led by Malaysian prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim.
Sharing about how the PH coalition was formed, Chua recounted: “It’s been a long process that required a lot of patience and compromises. It wasn’t always easy but in the end we came together and managed to present a united front…The parties and politicians were initially reluctant to come together, but it was the people’s demand to see a coalition that helped bring about Pakatan Harapan.”
SDP chairman Prof Paul Tambyah said: “We come from diverse backgrounds but there is much more that unites us than divides us. We all share the belief that things can be better, that we can and will have a democratic Singapore…We hope that this private session will inspire us to work together for a better Singapore for all.”
Several opposition figures were spotted at the event, like the Democratic People’s Party chief Goh Meng Seng and former Presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian. The SDP reported that Dr Tan Cheng Bock was due to attend the by-invitation-only event but could not make it at the last minute due to family commitments.
Revealing that all opposition parties were invited to the event, the SDP noted that only the Workers’ Party was not present.
Meanwhile, the SDP says that the forum attendees have agreed that “the process of putting together a unified opposition that can present a credible alternative to the PAP must begin.” It hopes that yesterday’s forum will be the first step for opposition parties to move in this direction.
The party added: “The road is long and the task is uphill, but the opposition must find courage and the discipline to overcome the barriers in order that Singaporeans can have a meaningful choice in who they want as their government.”