Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today announced that he is partnering with Opposition leaders to form a new coalition.
“I will be the first among equals, I guess, among the leadership”, he said.
In a statement Thursday, Abdul Rahman said the new coalition will only weaken the opposition further and strengthen the chances of Barisan winning big in the next general election.
Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said many new parties and new coalitions have been formed since 1951.
He said the meeting also agreed that parties will only field one candidate among them and all the rest would throw their support, pointing out that everyone realised the importance of co-operation in order to win against Barisan. “We discussed many things with him (Mahathir) and we agreed to move towards cooperation to have a coalition with all the opposition parties in Malaysia”, Chua Tian Chang, vice-president of the opposition People’s Justice Party, told AFP.
He also labeled the new political party which is yet to be named as having a “dangerous liaison” based on their “acute frustration and failure” to capture the imagination of Malaysians.
At the press conference, Mahathir repeatedly accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of “causing damage” to the country and called for the release of the Auditor-General’s Report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Zahid was commenting on Dr Mahathir’s announcement yesterday on the formation of a new political party and Opposition coalition.
On the status of Pakatan Harapan after the setting up of the new coalition, he said it would be up to PKR, DAP and Amanah to determine whether to continue with that pact.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing and Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared Najib in January of any corruption or criminal offences. He said that $681 million, deposited into Najib’s personal account in March 2013 before a general election, was a gift from a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family and most of it was returned.
Despite the challenges to his legitimacy, Mr Najib has managed to consolidate his political position within Umno.
Analysts interviewed by TODAY noted that the new party may not immediately alter the balance of power in Malaysian politics.
Meanwhile, jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has described the move by Dr Mahathir Mohamad to form a new party as a positive step.
"We are waiting for (former deputy prime minister) Muhyiddin (Yassin) to decide because Muhyiddin is making the decisions.
"We look forward to engaging with them. I think it's a positive thing," Anwar said when met at the court complex this afternoon after two of his cases came up for decision.
Anwar also stressed on the importance of a united opposition, and lauded PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man’s call for a ceasefire.
The opposition, he said, must stay united and soldier on for the time being.
"We must consolidate and work. It is time we must consolidate," he added.
Welcoming Tuan Ibrahim's call for a ceasefire among opposition parties and to find a common feature and work on it, Anwar said this was a positive statement from the PAS leader.
"I think we look forward to engaging with them," he said.
Earlier in court, there were scores of PKR and Pakatan Harapan supporters, and among them include PKR vice-presidents Nurul Izzah Anwar, Tian Chua and Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin and Amanah secretary-general Mohd Anuar Tahir.
Anwar had previously penned a scathing letter, warning PKR leaders on the dangers of working with former prime minister Mahathir.
Mahathir had in 1998 sacked Anwar as deputy prime minister.
PAS left the opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact last year. Now the new opposition coalition, called Pakatan Harapan, consists of the newly-formed Parti Amanah Negara, DAP and PKR.
Meanwhile, Umno-BN is not shaken by news that political titan Dr Mahathir Mohamad is setting up a new opposition party, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
Speaking to reporters in Mongolia, where he is attending a regional summit, Zahid said Umno-BN would go all out to stay in government, and would employ Mahathir's own tactics against him.
"The person who wants to form a new party was once a leader who took action against his political rivals, so based on what we were taught, we will do the same.
"If that person is on the other side, then we will do as he once did before to his political enemies," Zahid was quoted as saying by Bernama.
He said this when asked if the government was afraid of the new party Mahathir intends to form.
MIC president Dr S Subramaniam believes Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s actions would lead to his contributions and achievements being erased from the nation’s history.
However, this courted a single line rebuke from the former premier’s daughter, Marina.
“And history will remember MIC's (contributions and achievements), I'm sure...,” she tweeted.
Since the 2008 general election, MIC like its BN Chinese counterpart MCA has been struggling to remain relevant in the Malaysian political landscape.
The party and its leaders have also been the subject of numerous allegations.
In response to Marina's remarks, MIC Youth chief C Sivarraajh said the Indian party and other component parties were defeated in 2008 and struggle to remain relevant because of the racist policies Mahathir introduced when he was in power.
Sivarraajh said Mahathir's policies are to blame for Malaysia's current state, and not former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
"We are feeling the aftermath of the 30-year Mahathir administration's policies.
"Just because he is fighting the government and Najib, Mahathir can't be considered 'Gandhi' or a leader who is not racist.
"If you want to know how racist Mahathir is since his childhood, read (Mahathir's memoir) 'Doctor In The House'. History will tell about your father's racist policies," he said in a statement today.
Earlier, Subramaniam (photo) was responding to Mahathir’s announcement of a new political party and grand coalition, which the MIC president described as a saddening development.
“He was the former prime minister and president of Umno for a long period. He was also recognised and respected internationally as an exceptional leader.
“However, with such a move (to form a new party), I am of the opinion that it would reduce his standing in the eyes of the people,” he said in a media statement.
Instead of playing the role of an adviser to the nation, Subramaniam said Mahathir is going against the party he struggled for in the past, causing an upheaval to the political system.
Since last year, the 91-year-old former premier has waged a public campaign to oust Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, whom he has accused of numerous misdeeds.
Mahathir has since joined hands with opposition and civil society leaders, who were once critical of his leadership.
Najib has denied the allegations against him, and accused Mahathir and those aligned to him of attempting to engineer his downfall.