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Tuesday November 30, 2010
By SIRA HABIBU firstname.lastname@example.org
PKR leaders have consistently claimed that the party was formed “by the rakyat for the rakyat.”
The party, they said, drew its strength from ordinary people who believed that it could help them move up the socio-economic ladder by fighting for equal opportunity for all.
However, now that the party has become a force to be reckoned with in the Malaysian political landscape, some delegates have expressed concern over the “quality” of its membership.
Concerns over “illiterate” and politically immature members were expressed during the 7th PKR National Congress.
One delegate even pointed out that some members from an estate were under the impression that the recent party election was about voting for the Selangor Mentri Besar.
Even some party officials had remarked that sometimes election officers had to help tick the ballot boxes to assist these illiterate members.
Earlier, former PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali had said that new members should undergo training courses to sensitise them to politics.
“They must understand the party constitution and its struggles,” he said when opening the Wanita and Youth Congress on Friday.
Delegate M. Thinagaran from Perak called on party leaders not to use terms like “Trojan horse”.
“We need to use common words to explain to the people. Many of our members do not understand big words,’’ he said.
Delegate Azman Abidin of Federal Territory called for stringent guidelines for candidates to prevent just any “Tom, Dick and Harry” from contesting party positions.
“How can they be division leaders when they can’t even fork out RM15,000 to hold programmes?” he asked.
Azman said the RM20 fee for those contesting divisional posts should be increased to RM2,000 or RM3,000.
Many also feared that the party was practising the divide-and-rule policy as the election results showed that there was no representation of certain ethnic groups in the party’s top hierarchy.
Even party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim noted that there was no representation from Sarawak in the central party leadership while only two from Sabah; Christina Liew and Roland Chia were successful in securing central leadership council posts.
Indian leaders have also voiced their concerns as not a single leader from their community was elected to the top level.
“All the heavyweight Indian leaders were thrown out.
“Only the lightweights who contested the central leadership council posts are up there now,’’ said a leader, who wished to remain anonymous.
He also noted that there was no Indian representation in the Wanita line-up.
Anwar had assured Sabah and Sarawak that the party would consider appointing leaders from the two states to important positions in the party later, but no such promise was made to the Indians.
The outcome of the congress also clearly proved that even after 12 years, PKR is still very much an Anwar-centric party.
Party president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also Anwar’s wife, had said in her policy speech that Anwar was a “God-sent” leader.
Wan Azizah also echoed the sentiment of some leaders that Anwar’s position, as the party’s de facto leader, should not be questioned.
Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said it was Allah’s wish that the party marches to Putrajaya.
Many delegates and leaders had also vowed to fight tooth and nail to realise Anwar’s dream of becoming the next Prime Minister.
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