Party polls will set PKR's direction and strategy for GE15, says academician


KLANG: The PKR party polls results, which are scheduled to be released on Saturday (May 28) night or Sunday (May 29), are seen by many as one of the catalysts to set the party’s future direction.

It is believed the results will also foretell the party’s modus operandi in the next general election as well as indicate whether it would nurture and strengthen its ties with partner parties DAP and Amanah or otherwise.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s political science expert Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the new leadership may have to make some changes for the party’s future survival.

"They have to seek out ways, even if it's critical of the party’s top leadership as well as the party as a whole, to ensure PKR’s survival," said Dr Sivamurugan.

He said in the event incumbent vice-president Rafizi Ramli wins the deputy president’s position, he has to put aside his differences with the other leaders to move forward as a team.

"The differences have to be ironed out or put aside for the betterment of the party," said Dr Sivamurugan.

Rafizi is facing off with the party’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail for the PKR’s coveted number two position.

PKR veterans’ group Otai Reformis secretary Abdul Razak Ismail said those who win the party polls must take it upon themselves to fully back party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"They have to replace the 13 party MPs who defected during the Sheraton Move as those people were Anwar’s 'lieutenants' prior to leaving," said Abdul Razak.

He said PKR did badly in the three recent state elections because Anwar was campaigning alone without much support due to the huge leadership vacuum created by the 13.

"So, the new office bearers will have to fill in that vacuum and become Anwar’s right-hand people," he added.

PKR’s incumbent vice-president Tian Chua said the new team that comes in must focus on strengthening the party’s election machinery.

"That must be their key task given that we had lost in the past three state elections.

"The party leadership must also reach out to all the potential partners, within Pakatan Harapan, as well as those willing to cooperate with us to prevent any conflicts or overlapping of seats in the upcoming general election," said Chua.

He said this was a very challenging task and everyone in PKR must close ranks and not try to outdo each other once the results have been announced.

Merdeka Centre co-founder and programme director Ibrahim Suffian said the biggest challenge for the new team would be to secure lost ground by charting a new direction for the party.

"They have to draw up and articulate a plan to move the party forward as well as bring the party together in time for the general election," said Ibrahim.

He said the new team must also convince the general public that PKR was still relevant and could offer solutions to the various issues and problems faced by the nation.

"There are so many issues now and as an Opposition party, PKR should have capitalised on these but it has been very quiet in recent times," said Ibrahim.

PKR, which had led the Opposition in unseating Barisan Nasional in the 2018 general election, had fallen from grace after some of its key members ditched the party merely two years after it formed the Federal Government with its partner parties.

Its popularity waned so drastically that the party lost all the 11 and 28 seats it contested in the Malacca and Sarawak state elections respectively late last year.

In March this year, PKR only won one out of the 20 seats it contested in the Johor state polls.

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