Why would PPBM be weak if Anwar becomes PM, asks Wan Saiful

PETALING JAYA: PPBM strategist Wan Saiful Wan Jan has dismissed concerns that his party will lose power if PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim becomes the next prime minister, saying nothing of the sort has happened to PKR with PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad leading the country.

In fact, he told FMT, PKR was flourishing.

“No problem,” he said. “This is not about us taking advantage of each other. This is about us doing our best to attract everyone to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.”

In the May 9 polls, PKR won 47 seats, DAP 42, PPBM 13 and Amanah 11.

Although PPBM has been actively opening more branches nationwide, Wan Saiful denied this was out of competition with the other PH component parties, saying it was only “fulfilling the wants of the people who wish to join the party”.

He gave the example of DAP, which sometimes dwarfed other coalition parties in a particular area whose members were then told to join the party.

“The same with Amanah,” he said. “To me, I don’t see a problem with that. We are all working on the PH platform.”

When asked about a recent BBC interview in which Mahathir had denied making any formal apology to Anwar, Wan Saiful said PKR’s good relationship with PPBM could be seen in the way the two leaders had worked to overcome Barisan Nasional in the last general election.

He also accused some of trying to put a wedge between the two.

“Umno propagandists should stop this because in reality, their relationship is effective.”

Wan Saiful, who is chairman of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation, also questioned the integrity of Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam, asking why he remained in the party despite realising its many problems.

“People are leaving Umno because they have lost faith in the party,” he said, challenging Lokman’s claim that Umno veteran Mustapa Mohamed had quit the party after being threatened by Daim Zainuddin, who is widely seen as Mahathir’s right-hand man.

“For him (Lokman) to imply that there are questions about the integrity of people like Tok Pa whom I happen to know personally, I think that is going too far,” he added.

“I think the question really is why he’s still there.”

He said PPBM would continue to hold talks with anyone interested in joining the party, including Umno MPs.

“We will talk to anyone. We welcome anyone, but the principles are very clear. We welcome people with integrity who are fighting to save the country.

“But if it’s about saving themselves, they can forget about joining us.”

He also dismissed fears that PPBM could one day turn into “Umno 2.0”, saying even though it was a Malay-based party like Umno, it championed hard work, integrity and a sense of shame over wrong actions.

“These are things Umno never spoke about. All Umno would say is ‘Bangkit Melayu’. Or that the Chinese are taking over (the economy). Umno would play on ethnic sentiments.

“Umno kept fanning this to further divide the country. We come with the message of unity for all.”

At the grassroots level, he added, members did not want PPBM to turn into another Umno, either.

“To alleviate these fears, we have a value system and everyone must follow it.”