PETALING JAYA: PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has lashed out at detractors within his own party who have criticised the move to get him to contest in Port Dickson.
Without naming anyone, Anwar said while he did not mind PKR leaders criticising him, they should draw the line as there was a consensus among Pakatan Harapan coalition leaders that he would contest for a parliamentary seat once he was out of prison.
Anwar said he encouraged freedom of speech but there should be a certain degree of discipline when commenting on the party leadership.
“Even the incumbent for the Port Dickson parliament constituency, (Datuk) Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, had no qualms in vacating the seat for me. But there are some within the party who seem to be criticising the move,” he said when addressing PKR members at the Melaka International Trade Centre on Thursday.
“As president, my duty is to safeguard the party’s integrity and unity,” he said, while issuing a warning that he would no longer tolerate “nonsense and infighting”.
“In the upcoming party elections, I want the grassroots to reject leaders who are arrogant and who have forgotten their humble beginnings.
“Oust those aloof and materialistic ones from the party,” he said, adding that he was offering himself as a parliamentary candidate because he wanted to help reform the august House.
PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin and vice president Tian Chua, as well as Datuk S. Ambiga, who is closely linked to the party, have criticised the move, while deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said that party leaders were not consulted over the Port Dickson decision.
Danyal announced his immediate resignation as the MP for Port Dickson earlier this week to pave the way for Anwar to return to Parliament.
Anwar said he had no ulterior motive and was not impatient to become the eighth Prime Minister as alleged by some critics.
He noted he had already expressed his intention to contest two weeks ago, adding that the core struggle of the party was to serve and protect the well-being of the people.
“I am telling all of you, please discard those who are traitors, who are power-crazy and arrogant when assuming positions like executive councillors.
“Elect those who are humble and consistent with our founding principles, as well as those willing to serve all races,” he said.
Anwar also said the PKR elections need not be postponed to make way for the Port Dickson parliamentary by-election.
He said the campaign for the party polls had been ongoing for about a month, so the party machinery should have no problem to instead focus on the coming by-election.
“You have been campaigning for the party polls for about a month, and I think that’s enough; now let’s focus on Port Dickson,” he said.
Also present was PKR vice-president Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, who had earlier called on the PKR Central Election Committee to postpone the party polls until after the Port Dickson by-election.
In Johor Baru later, Anwar said his wife would step down from her Cabinet post once he became the Prime Minister.