PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan has accepted the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and the New Generation Party as its strategic partners to assist the coalition during the general election, said opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“They have shown interest to cooperate with us but we already have four parties and it may reduce any distribution (of seats) if they join in.
“So, we need to find a place for them and give special treatment,” he said after chairing the PH presidential council meeting at the Parliament building today.
He said Hindraf was an active NGO and was keen to work with PH and due to that PH had agreed to find a place for it in the coalition.
Furthermore, he said, PH was seen more as a Malay and Chinese party despite having several Indian MPs and state assemblymen in the opposition bloc.
Previously, Hindraf had announced that it would work with PH to bring down the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in the general election.
Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy had said the Indian rights group would help PH by urging the Indian community in rural and semi-urban areas to vote for the coalition and to reject the BN.
In August, Mahathir and Hindraf discussed the prospect of the Indian rights group joining the opposition coalition.
He said they were accepting the New Gen Party as a partner because it supported the cause of PH. The New Gen Party, which last September announced it was changing its name to Minority Rights Action Party (Mira) claims to represent ethnic minorities in the country and is headed by A Rajaretinam.
We will talk to Maria Chin, says Mahathir
Meanwhile, Mahathir said PH would talk to former Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah who would be contesting in GE14 on a Pakatan Harapan ticket, but without joining any political party.
“We will have to talk to her. We have not decided anything.
“Because, one of the things we don’t want to see is a three-cornered fight becoming a four, five or a six-cornered fight,” he told reporters when asked about Maria’s announcement that she was joining politics.
The 92-year-old added that PH wanted to avoid further divisions as it would only split the votes and favour the BN.
Maria has resigned from Bersih and had said she felt it vital to remain politically independent.
“If I carry a reform agenda I have to be focused and I would like to remain independent, independence isn’t so much about the logo itself but more so keeping to the agendas at hand,” she was reported as saying.
Maria also revealed that she had not been offered a specific seat to contest, but said she would not want to clash with any PH candidate.
The activist had also insisted that she would not accept anything other than a federal seat, saying this was necessary for her push to introduce electoral reforms as well as gender and income equality.