Yes, PH popularity in decline but we’ve 4 more years, says Guan Eng

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today acknowledged that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government could lose if a general election were to take place today.

While acknowledging that PH’s popularity has declined over the past one year, Lim remained optimistic on the coalition’s ability to win the confidence of Malaysians in the near future.

“We still have four more years to go and we should use this opportunity to turn the economy around,” he said.

This comes after two PH MPs agreed with the assessment by PPBM chief strategist Rais Hussin yesterday that the ruling coalition would face defeat if a general election were called now.

Klang MP Charles Santiago cited various flip-flops in policies and what he called a “PM transition that’s stuck in the mud” while Subang MP Wong Chen said PH was at risk of losing power but disagreed that PAS and Umno would easily take over.

Lim reminded that the country had lost nearly RM150 billion due to financial scandals and excesses, giving the current government a difficult fiscal challenge.

“Which country can afford to lose RM150 billion without feeling any pain? Even an economic superpower like the US will feel some pain. What more a small country like Malaysia?” he said.

“These are the fiscal challenges that we face, that’s why we need to get the economic and fiscal situation back on track,” said Lim, adding he was confident the nation would be making progress again by 2021.

Speaking at the Social Democracy Asia Conference here, he said social democratic values are important, but the focus at the moment should be on building economic prosperity and shared prosperity in Malaysia.

While principles such as rule of law, democracy, environmental protection, and diversity should not be forgotten, Lim stressed the importance of improving the lives of the people and obtaining their confidence.

“I’m not saying there’s enough of this, rule of law, especially. I think it’s very important to bring confidence. But we should be focused on making people’s lives better and, of course, putting people before profits,” he said.

“When you talk about delivering, the crucial factor is always about economic prosperity so that people feel confident that they will live better than before,” said Lim. “And, most important of all, their children will live better than them.”

He called on the party to be determined and spirited in overcoming difficulties, warning them against complacency to avoid being a “one-term wonder”.

“Winning is tough, but winning again is much tougher. We’re not going to hide behind a false image that everything is going fine,” said Lim. “No, it’s tough, and it’s going to get tougher.”

He emphasised that DAP should not forget their roots as a social democratic party, but should also maintain a pragmatic and practical approach when on the ground.