KUALA LUMPUR - Veteran lawmaker Lim KIt Siang warned Sunday the opposition alliance was suffering from a "bout of loss of public confidence" after it enjoyed unprecedented success in national polls last year.
The Pakatan Rakyat alliance seized control of a third of seats in parliament in the 2008 elections, dealing the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition its worst results in the half-century it has governed Malaysia.
However, the three parties in the unlikely opposition alliance - the conservative Islamic party PAS, the liberal Democratic Action Party (DAP) and multi-racial Keadilan - have each been hit by infighting since.
Lim Kit Siang, the DAP supremo, urged the alliance to "impose discipline among their leaders" to protect the opposition's image, especially after its defeat in a by-election earlier this month.
"Pakatan Rakyat had been suffering a prolonged and unceasing bout of loss of public confidence... to convince the Malaysian electorate in its credibility, cohesion, integrity and common sense of purpose," he said in a statement.
Lim cited BN's recent Bagan Pinang by-election victory as an example, saying the opposition "cannot take the setback lightly and must not be in denial about its weaknesses and faults".
Trouble brewing in PAS, PKR
BN had lost seven out of eight special votes held since 2008 polls but it ended the opposition winning streak with a thumping victory in the latest vote, although it was criticised for fielding a popular but graft-tainted candidate.
The main Islamic party PAS is dogged by infighting after its spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat called for a special party vote to remove several top party leaders he described as "problematic".
Nik Abdul Aziz, a highly respected figure in PAS, made the proposal over his unhappiness that some of the party leaders were keen on pursuing a pact with Umno, the largest party in ruling BN.
The Keadilan party was also divided after Zaid Ibrahim, a former cabinet minister who quit last September and later joined Keadilan, recently announced his plan to go on a six-month leave from the party.
Zaid reportedly said he did not want to be "distracted by any internal party politics", fuelling speculation on the growing discord within Keadilan, led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. - AFP
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