Disgruntlement within PKR, simmering for months now, has erupted over party adviser Anwar Ibrahim’s alleged betrayal of “long-standing” members, dropping them after having indicated they would be selected to contest at the coming general election.
That is what some upset PKR members are claiming. Their complaints and views if not treated with respect can cause a really serious rift in the PKR party and derail its recent resurgence and return to the top spot in the Pakatan Rakyat hierarchy.
“This is a most unpleasant situation with racial overtones. Not all who have been dropped are Chinese but most are Chinese. The Malays in PKR are now also very concerned. Who will be next?” a PKR insider told Malaysia Chronicle on strict conditions of anonymity.
“At the end of the day, it’s the way they make decisions at the top. It is just like the BN. PKR is the new Umno and DAP the new MCA. Anwar talks about creating a new Malaysian identity but when push comes to shove, he sells out his own members. You can’t blame them for being angry because they spent the past 4 years investing a lot of time and money to build a following in their designated constituencies. But it is Anwar’s betray that really hurts,” another party insider told Malaysia Chronicle.
Anwar keeping PKR a Malay party?
So far, Anwar has not made any comment although the news has been splashed all over the major dailies the past 3 days. His deafening silence has cast a gloom over the Chinese membership in the PKR party.
Many of these had already been feeling unhappy at what they perceived to be Anwar’s way of consistently thwarting their attempts grow and develop in the party.
Several of PKR’s most senior Chinese leaders had even convened a meeting a few months ago to discuss the grouses of their grassroots. Their complaints were then formally presented to Anwar but it appears he has not seen fit to take their views seriously.
Instead, it looks like Anwar has decided to rely on the DAP to bring in the Chinese vote. PKR insiders pointed at the way he had “sold out” on the Ipoh Timur, Tapah, Tanjung Malim, Johor Bahru and even the Batu Pahat seat, which was due to be contested by Syed Hamid Ali, the brother of former deputy president Syed Husin Ali.
“If you look at the affected seats, it is not just about Johor or Gelang Patah. Most of us are not happy. Perak is affected and so is Pahang. But Johor PKR in the limelight because they are fighting back. We can understand if Anwar replaces lousy candidates with big names who have proven track records. But look at Gelang Patah. Jui Meng has just as good a chance, if not better, of winning than Kit Siang there,” a PKR insider from the North told Malaysia Chronicle.
“And also why was Lee Boon Chye asked to work the ground at Ipoh Timur but now he’s been told to go back to contest at Gopeng? Is there collusion between Anwar and Kit Siang? Actually, the real problem is not DAP anymore, the snake is Anwar. DAP is only just another MCA with limit to its growth because it is Chinese-dominated. For us rightly or wrongly, we chose to join PKR and not DAP because we wanted a multiracial party and we were promised that by Anwar. But who dares to trust him now.”
Disgusted Jui Meng to make a “principled stand”
Nonetheless, there is red-hot speculation that Jui Meng has decided to make a “principled stand” and not contest any seat at all due to disgust over the way his division leaders were dropped. It is believed that Anwar wants them to make way for some of his recently recruited retired Army generals as well as for a few “total unknowns”.
Other PKR leaders, when contacted, expressed sadness at the nasty turn of events and called for calm.
“Let’s hope for the best. We must keep the line united and get clarification for the package (Gelang Patah and Bentong),” PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli told Malaysia Chronicle.
It’s war – Johor PKR
Johor PKR, for one, has no intention of letting Anwar get his way without a fight. It is understood that Johor PKR political bureau has called for an emergency press conference at 10am on Monday (March 18) at their office in Bandar Baru Uda, Johor Baru.
They are expected to announce their stand on the “seats allocation” matter. Not only DAP but Anwar can expect to get a real peppering.
Perhaps, it is time for the PKR adviser to come down to earth and realize that his greatness came not only from God but from millions of unseen Malaysians who supported him in good faith and without condition.
Anwar should remember that his multiracial credentials, in particular over the past 4 years, were built largely by minority groups such as the Chinese, Indians, Dayaks and KDM, who were fed up with the Umno-BN and willing to fight for change behind his banner.
To treat them shabbily and discard them now that his goal of becoming the next Prime Minister is in sight would not only make a hypocrite of what he stands for but invite well-deserved criticism and retribution.