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PKR polls heading to Sabah, Sarawak


War of words: Supporters of Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Rafizi Ramli engaging in a shouting match that resulted in Rela personnel stepping in to keep the peace at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council Hall in Taman Chempaka. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

War of words: Supporters of Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Rafizi Ramli engaging in a shouting match that resulted in Rela personnel stepping in to keep the peace at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council Hall in Taman Chempaka. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The high-stakes PKR polls is set to head to Sabah and Sarawak next week, but the last day of voting in several states in the peninsula left much to be desired with claims of sabotage.

After much talk about some quarters trying to disrupt the polls, there was evidence of this found yesterday – a jamming device at a booth while e-voting was being conducted in Kuala Selangor, leading to the suspension of polling there.

This has added to the suspense of who will finally clinch the prized PKR deputy presidency in the polls.

The weekend has proven to be a roller coaster for the two hopefuls – incumbent Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and vice-president Rafizi Ramli.

While Azmin is now leading in Selangor, earlier on Saturday e-voting in Perak allowed Rafizi to haul in a majority of 963 votes to give him the slight edge.

However, in the last leg of voting in Selangor, the home base of Azmin, the latter regained the lead, albeit with a small majority.

Overall, Azmin, who is the Economic Affairs Minister is said to be leading by about 1,400 votes. Rafizi’s team is now worried that even if he manages to win the deputy presidency, he would be very much a lonely man at the top.

While the former Pandan MP seems to have hauled in enough votes over the past week to inch closer to Azmin, his teammates have not done very well.

The only exception in Rafizi’s team is PKR vice-president and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar. This means that even if Rafizi wins, he may face a tough time getting support for his ideas and plans as the ones winning in the lower positions are from Azmin’s team.

“Look at the results overall, Rafizi is alone, but Azmin’s team is the whole team.

“This reflects the groundwork and base support to his team. Look at the Youth and Women’s wings,” said Dr Afif Bahardin of PKR Penang, who is leading the race for the Youth chief.

In the race for the eight vice-presidents’ posts, Nurul Izzah has the highest votes, but the next four on the list are all aligned with Azmin – Zuraidah Kamarudin, Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, Tian Chua and Shamsul Iskandar.

Only after them, do three others, William Leong, Johari and Kesavan, all staunch supporters of Rafizi, follow.

In the race for the Women’s wing top and No. 2 post, Haniza Talha and Daroyah Alwi are leading comfortably.

Tian Chua, an incumbent vice-president, said the reason Rafizi won in Perak was because “the Perak PKR leadership is weak”.

Political analyst Dr Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said Selangor was definitely where Azmin could score as not only was he the Mentri Besar there, he was also the state PKR chief since 1998.

He said the reason Rafizi seemed to have gained momentum over the past few weeks was probably due to the “perceived stamp of approval” given by the president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after his massive Port Dickson by-election triumph on Oct 13.

“Rafizi was seen as the hero of the Port Dickson move, marking the return of Anwar to active politics.

“This win by Anwar seems to have mooted a message to PKR grassroots that while Rafizi may have lost in the “Kajang Move”, he is definitely the best strategist to be Anwar’s deputy,” said Mazlan.

Rafizi’s teammate, Kapar MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, said he was not surprised with the way things were going.

“Our members never judge a leader based on their positions. Our party was established by the roadside with the call for reformasi,’’ he added.

Tian Chua said he was worried over the integrity of the results with issues such as phantom voters and missing votes.

He expressed concern that more problems would happen especially in the interior parts of Sabah and Sarawak, where Internet connections are a major worry. He referred to a statutory declaration by Sarawak PKR Information chief Vernon Kedit who alleged that there were over a thousand phantom PKR members in Julau alone.

“Members from Sabah and Sarawak will be voting next weekend and we are going into the interior parts of the state. What is going to happen?” he asked.

PKR members in Sabah will e-vote on Nov 3 and 4, with Sarawak members voting on Nov 10.

Related stories:

Azmin scores psychological boost in Pandan

Rafizi: Claims of money politics will backfire

No Internet connection – so no polling in Selangor

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