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Published: Wednesday October 15, 2014 MYT 7:13:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday October 15, 2014 MYT 7:31:53 AM

Rafizi’s ‘double role’ raises eyebrows

Rafizi Ramli

Rafizi Ramli

Given the Pandan MP's part in the Kajang move debacle, one wonders why he has been rewarded.

PKR has raised eyebrows yet again with its latest appointments to fill the remaining vacancies in the party’s central leadership for the 2014-2017 session.

In particular, the party’s decision to offer elected vice president Rafizi Ramli the post of secretary-general is perplexing to say the least.

Firstly, it creates the impression that no one else is capable of doing the job, and leaves question marks as to whether Rafizi can successfully juggle two senior positions in the party.

Furthermore, as I understand, a secretary-general is expected to bring some neutrality to the table in order to balance out certain differences in opinion among the central leadership.

This would evidently no longer apply to PKR, with Rafizi’s multiples roles providing a case of conflicting interests.

Secondly, Rafizi is not exactly a popular figure among the grassroots at the moment, after his failed ‘Kajang move’ strategy which triggered the Selangor MB farce in the first place.

His outburst at the recent PKR congress, where he told members to leave the party if they did not support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his family, is not exactly the best way to endear yourself to supporters.

And given that a bulk of his responsibility as secretary-general would involve interactions with the grassroots, Rafizi faces a monumental task in regaining the confidence of his detractors.

Thirdly, the new responsibilities assigned to Rafizi as secretary-general - tasks like bringing in young talent and strengthening the party machinery, could have been easily undertaken in his capacity as vice-president.

Why the need to take on two posts?

I feel it would be better if he had been provided an assistant to manage those tasks with, as was the case with fellow vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar.

She was made co-election director together with former sec-gen Datuk Saifuddin Nasution, a dual role that makes more sense perhaps.

Nurul Izzah has demonstrated that she is the best person for the job, with her election-winning strategies and foresight which helped her defend her Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat in GE13.

She also has an existing track record - having persistently pushed for electoral reforms in parliament. She has the kind of ideas in her arsenal that can only help the party rectify its own election weaknesses while improving its chances of wresting more seats come GE14.

In a way, her appointment seems a mere formality, which is more than I can say for Rafizi.

Granted, he represents the younger generation of leaders in PKR, and could yet see his political ambitions take a turn for the better in the coming years.

The party’s trust in him - his appointment as secretary-general was said to be personally favoured by PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail - is also indicative of its readiness to see a power transition.

My doubts may hence be a tad premature, but after all that has happened with PKR in the last year, I can’t help but wonder:

Is Rafizi’s dual role really a “consolidating” move as the party suggests, or does this sound like another dubious strategy that only the former PKR strategic director can think up?

Only time will tell.

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

Tags / Keywords: akil yunus, rafizi, pkr, pandan mp, online execlusive, opinion

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