Pakatan Harapan secretariat says will discuss membership bid by Ezam’s party

By Ida Lim and Syed Jaymal Zahiid
PBR’s Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan (centre) submitting his party’s application to Pakatan Harapan representative Fahmi Fadzil, April 4, 2017. — Picture by Kamles Kumar

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Pakatan Harapan will discuss former senator Datuk Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor’s bid to have his new party be included in the opposition pact, the bloc’s secretariat said today.

Pakatan Harapan’s chief secretary Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah confirmed that Ezam’s party had through its deputy president Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan submitted the application letter by hand at around 3pm today.

Saifuddin said the letter was received by one of the Opposition Leader’s officers at the latter’s office in Parliament.

“PH thanks him and PBS for their trust in PH and for their intention to join us.

“We have not discussed this matter before. With the official application, as PH Chief Secretary, I will bring it on the agenda of the next PH Presidential Council Meeting,” Saifuddin told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

“We have not had any other request from other parties thus far,” he added.

Last weekend, the new party led by Ezam and undergoing a name change to Parti Bebas Rasuah (PBR) was reported declaring its interest in joining Pakatan Harapan.

Pakatan Harapan is currently composed of PKR, DAP, Parti Amanah Negara and its latest addition Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).

When contacted, Amanah’s deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said a Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting — the second since PPBM joined — will likely be held next week, adding that it will also depend on the recently-hospitalised PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s recovery.

“So I think if Ezam sent the application to secretariat, I think the paper will be brought in the meeting and we will discuss the matter.

“And I think anything we are going to decide in our Pakatan Harapan as what we did in Pakatan Harapan before Bersatu join us. I think we will continue the spirit of consensus for all parties,” he said.

“We applaud any party to exercise their democratic right in a country. I think it’s not wrong for Ezam to form a new party and he has a right to send application to PH,” he added.

Amanah secretary-general Mohd Anuar Mohd Tahir said that any applications by any political parties — including PBR — to join Pakatan Harapan will have to be decided by consensus by all four existing component parties.

DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke also said that such matters will have to be decided by the Pakatan Harapan presidential council as a “collective decision”.

When contacted, PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang told Malay Mail Online: “I’m personally ok. We have worked with Dr M, PH admitted Zaid Ibrahim. We said we are opened to PAS. To be consistent we should accept anyone or party for willingness to cooperate to fight BN.”

Chua was referring to former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad --- who now chairs PPBM --- and former law minister and new DAP member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

“So many others had defected. Many also were our arch enemies before. Again, it’s my personal opinion. I can’t speak for PH, I guess the presidential council should discuss,” Tian said when it was it highlighted that Ezam was formerly a PKR member who had at one point rejoined Umno.