Is PKR crisis beyond rapprochement?

Lucy Sebli

Most of the political parties criticise the party in the power, not for the best of the people, but to get the power for themselves.

Ehsan Sehgal, Pakistani-Dutch poet and writer

The infighting within the PKR’s top leadership has reached its height with the dismissal of its youth permanent chairman and his deputy, right before the Youth convention took place in Malacca.

The walkout staged by PKR top ranking officials Ginie Lim and Muhammad Jailani Khamis during the Melaka State Assembly sitting recently right before the vote count for the appointment of its state chairman Halim Bachik as a senator further widened the cracks between the infighting factions.

Last month, Baru Bian, Sarawak PKR chairman made a decision not to attend the convention in Miri as a protest over the decision made by the party to drop Datuk Seri Azmin Ali from officiating at the Youth convention.

As expected, a video of an individual linked to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s faction was released in the social media, condemning the actions of Sarawak’s PKR chairman and his associates for their seemingly belligerent and defiant actions.

To make matters worse, several top rank individuals who were allegedly involved in bribing of some of the party’s branch leaders in Sarawak were sacked.

Another development emerged when a copy of a police report was circulated in the social media and mass media just before the 14th PKR National Congress from December 6 to 8 at Melaka International Trade Centre. 

The police report, allegedly (at least at this stage) was launched by an individual who, until recently had worked for the party president. The report accused PKR president of attempting to force himself on the alleged victim.

The party president immediately issued a media statement on December 5 informing the public of his intention to launch a police report to counter the report made by the ‘alleged’ victim.

He argued that he was attending an inaugural commemorative function to mark the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi in Kuala Lumpur and was on the campaign trail during the by-election in Port Dickson, on the purported date on which the incident was reported to have occurred.

 In addition to that, he also lamented that the report was a malevolence work of some quarters within the party to tarnish his image. It seemed that all hopes of reconciliation have failed.

However, information released by the party’s political bureau meeting appeared to be positive. It was reported that the party had agreed to have Azmin to officiate at the Women’s Congress, while PKR’s Advisory Council chairman Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, should officiate at the Youth wing annual meeting.

This is further reaffirmed by the party president when he commented on his Facebook that his meeting with his deputy was very successful. However, he did not elaborate on the content of the said meeting in detail.

At this stage, it appeared as if both factions are making headway as far as their acrimonious relationship is concerned.

Notwithstanding, the chaos which ensued on the first day of the congress, indicated that the infighting within the party has not shown any sign of abating. The failure of the president to control the party delegates’ actions had prompted Azmin’s delegates to walk out of the congress on the third day of the congress.

Despite Anwar’s assurance that things are okay between him and Azmin, the incidents at the national congress suggested differently. The party members did not even bother to conceal their resentment towards each other.

All of these developments further weaken the position of the party vis-a-vis other component parties within PH. It will also affect public confidence of the party’s ability to rule the country when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad hands over the power to the PKR president next year.

A few days after the congress, PKR strongman Datuk Seri Mohamad Rafizi Ramli announced his retirement from politics after more than 20 years with the party. This latest development further undermines the party’s ability to lead this nation to where it aspires to be. 

How can we trust a divisive party to lead us? The party has to get its act together if it wishes to lead this country when the time comes. It is all hands-on deck now for the party and its members.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.