PKR-DAP merger will set Pakatan straight, says ex-chief

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — A PKR-DAP merger is the only way to safeguard Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) existence as Islamist PAS is bent on snagging the prime ministership should the three-party pact one day win Putrajaya, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said today.

The outspoken politician, who was once the temporary head of the yet-to-be formalise opposition coalition, hinted at a continuing tussle among the three disparate parties for PR's crown should the nascent pact wrest federal power from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).

"Have sympathy for Anwar," Zaid tweeted today of PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"He could not have Shadow because PAS want post [sic] PM post for themselves," he said, referring to the formation of a Shadow Cabinet and the prime ministership.

"Only DAP want Anwar," Zaid added in his series of Twitter posts.

The question PR's candidate to head the government has been bandied about over the past five years since the three parties united in a fresh bid to counter the might of the 13-party BN coalition.

It was raised in the weeks leading to the 13th general election on May 5.

PAS delegates had made an overt push for their president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to be PM during their last muktamar or general assembly last November, putting the party at loggerheads with PKR and DAP which had agreed on Anwar as PR's prime minister-designate.

DAP national chairman Karpal Singh later proposed the creation of two deputy prime minister posts to accomodate one representative each from DAP and PAS, while maintaining Anwar as prime minister.

The inter-party fight has since simmered down after PR failed to wrest federal power from BN, but there has not been any clear sign that the leadership issue has been laid to rest.

And in an indication that PR has yet to settle the dispute, PAS Youth chief and Temerloh MP Nasrudin Hassan was recently reported saying that each of the three parties have separately formed their own Cabinets to shadow the BN government's performance.

In his tweets, Zaid appeared to imply that only by combining PKR and DAP into a single larger entity can they keep PAS in check.

But he also criticised Anwar for taking on the role of opposition leader in Parliament without Pakatan actually coming to a solution to the leadership tussle.

"Long term solution PKR-DAP merger. That's why Anwar should not have accepted Leader of Opposition. Give false notion of unity," he said.

This is not the first time someone has come up to suggest that PKR and DAP become one entity.

Last year, Bukit Bendera PKR chief Jason Ong was quoted by The Star daily as saying that a merger between the two parties would make it harder for PAS to pursue its goal of setting up an Islamic state.

The relationship between the three PR partners has been tenuous at times, especially when it came to seat allocations for election candidates and also government appointments in states held by the coalition.