Karpal convinced PAS can accept local council elections

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid (Malaysian Insider)
SHAH ALAM, Dec 19 – PAS and PKR were pressured today to back the restoration of the local council vote by DAP leaders who have been sending implicit demands throughout Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) maiden convention that the pact must fulfill the vow it once made.
The party’s chairman, Karpal Singh (pic), in his closing speech, could not have made DAP’s stand on the matter more obvious when he said that he is convinced that PAS can be persuaded to accept calls to restore the local council vote.
“The common policy is not made of stone, I am convinced, somewhere along the way, PAS can be with us in accepting the restoration of the local council election,” he said.
The crowd were unsure as how to react at this point while PAS leaders appeared slightly uncomfortable.
Karpal became the second DAP leader to make obvious the party’s stand on the thorny matter, while others found it apt to avoid displaying any signs of disunity at the pact’s first ever convention held to prove accusations – that it lacks ideological commonality and cannot work together – wrong
Subang Jaya state lawmaker Hanna Yeo was the first to make such a strong statement, saying that local council elections were essential for genuine democracy to flourish.
In the coalition’s common policy launched earlier today, it is stated that PR is committed to “strengthen local government democracy and democratically enhance the competency and effectiveness of the delivery system and guarantee transparency at all levels.”
Such a choice of words was made to appease PR leaders who are opposed to restoring local government elections.
The Malaysian Insider understands that Malay leaders from both PAS and PKR are worried that local governments would be dominated by the non-Malays.
But apart from the local council vote issue, Karpal congratulated PR, declaring the convention a success which can become a solid stepping stone for the pact in its effort to oust Barisan Nasional from Putrajaya.
Karpal was backed by his once bitter rival, PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nik Aziz, who also felt that today’s convention marked a new era for the cooperation between the three parties.
“I feel like I am in a new world,” he said followed by loud cheers from the crowd.
Earlier today, the crowd cheered upon seeing Karpal and Nik Aziz sitting next to each other. The two had previously argued over their party’s antagonistic position with DAP being a staunch secularist and PAS all for the establishment of the Islamic state.
“Why should there be any problem with me (and them) sitting next to each other?” Karpal jested in his closing speech.