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Sarawak PKR likely kingmaker

KUCHING: With Sarawak PKR members being the last to go to the polls in the e-voting party elections this weekend, all eyes are on the results which will determine the key positions in the Central Leadership Council.

The fact that Sarawak PKR will become a ‘kingmaker’ of sorts was publicly acknowledged by PKR deputy president’s candidate Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali when he attended a state PKR dinner here on Wednesday.

Alluding to his challenger Mohd Rafizi Ramli, Mohamed Azmin, who is defending his post, called on the party members in Sarawak to vote leaders who care for members and not to fall prey to money politics in the run-up to the polls.

PKR Sarawak led by its chairman Baru Bian, who is also Selangau Member of Parliament (MP) and Works Minister, is known to be aligned to the Minister of Economic Affairs.

Of the 29 divisions going to the polls in Sarawak, the Julau division led, by Julau MP Larry Sng who is said to be in the rival camp, has stirred controversy – marring the party polls when it was alleged to have bogus members.

The Julau PKR membership was reported to have surged from only 603 on June 26 to 13,000 just a day later, which prompted state information chief Vernon Kedit to lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) here last month to ascertain if there were irregularities.

Mohamed Azmin had also asked the MACC to get to the bottom of the matter and investigate the mastermind behind the alleged phantom membership status.

To make matters worse, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was being criticised for allegedly using government machinery in her capacity as Deputy Prime Minister to visit Julau and Sibu on Tuesday in the company of Sng ahead of the party polls.

And with merely two days to go, most of the polling centres at the various branches had yet to be finalised, partly due to certain hiccups and process of re-election of candidates at the division level.
Petra Jaya PKR chairman Baharuddin Mokhsen said the venues for the members to conduct their e-voting would only be known at the latest by Thursday. However, they could still elect their party representatives through paper ballots.

In rural and remote areas with internet access, online voting would be an automatic process but there is a need to be concerned and wary of the possibility that poll results could be hacked, he said. – Bernama

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