Snap officially joins Pakatan Rakyat
The Sarawak National Party (Snap) has joined as the fourth member of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, ahead of the crucial Sibu by-election on May 16.
Announcing Snap’s entry today after its leadership council meeting, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said the coalition’s first task was to support DAP’s candidate for the by-election, which will be announced on April 27.
DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang told Malaysiakini that the announcement will be made during a special dinner.
When asked if the coalition is being formed specifically for the Sibu by-election, Anwar said that is one reason.
“The main task (of the coalition) is to win the Sibu by-election,” Anwar explained.
The Dayak-based Snap, one of the oldest parties in Sarawak, was a member of the state BN ruling coalition, and is now an opposition party.
It does not have a seat in the state assembly.
Anwar and top Pakatan leaders met with Snap representatives in Sibu on Sunday to seal the deal.
In the 2008 general elections, a lack of formal electoral pacts resulted in numerous contests involving Snap, DAP and PKR.
With a formal coalition in place, the four opposition parties are now in a better position to ensure that the upcoming state elections will only see straight fights.
NEM fails key acid test
Meanwhile, the Pakatan Rakyat leadership claimed that the New Economic Model (NEM) had failed to transform the economic structure by leaving out four crucial elements which forms the acid test to ensuring a fully restructured economy.
Anwar pointed out that these elements had to be implemented immediately if the government is serious in pushing for economic reforms.
The four elements are as follows:
– Restructuring of four key utilities namely electricity, water, toll expressways and broadband services to lessen the financial burden on the public due to skewed monopolistic commercial arrangements that favour big crony corporations. Especially in light of TNB’s latest admission that the reserve margin in the country has reached a whopping 66% (which profits only the independent power producers and impoverishes the rakyat).
- Implementation of the steps to bring the country closer to the introduction of a minimum wage to reduce dependence on foreign labour, restructure and ‘push’ industries into higher value-added activities and to ensure a social safety net for the nation’s poorest.
- Introduction of more support for young people and young families including review of areas that impose significant financial burden on take-home pay of young families and restructuring of income tax brackets; and
- Reforms of key institutions that are central in restoring confidence, justice, fairness, competition and security to the economy such as the judiciary, the AG’s Chambers, MACC and the police force.
Anwar later touched on the prime minister’s recent announcement where the Employees Provident Fund, which does not have expertise in property development, is given the authority to jointly develop 3000 acres of land.
“Worse is that the news of overall project will be awarded directly to MRCB without any open, transparent and competitive tenders that makes a mockery of the NEM’s goals of ‘creating a competitive domestic economy’ and the prime minister’s call to not ‘tolerate rent-seeking and patronage’,” he said.