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PKR may form new bureau for Indians

 | June 22, 2012

PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim is meeting several Indian leaders to get feedback on the idea.

PETALING JAYA: PKR, in an effort to boost the support base of its minorities, especially Indians, is mulling a plan to set up a minority affairs bureau to complement the party’s main body.

Sources claimed that party supremo Anwar Ibrahim was serious about setting up the bureau aimed at, among others, bringing together the party’s Indian supporters who are now using non-governmental organisations as a platform to voice their grouses.

On his part, sources say, Anwar is meeting several Indian leaders, including those from MIC who want to defect, to float the idea and gather feedback on how the new bureau would operate.

“It would not operate separately… it will be part of the party. We do not know if the bureau head would automatically be appointed party vice-president.

“The response from the ground seems very good. The people we have spoken to are very receptive of the idea… it will go through. This would make the party stronger, especially among the Indians,” a party source said.

PKR Indian leaders mooted the idea in 2010 but it never took off due to internal in-fighting on who should lead the bureau.

At the 2008 general election, Anwar stole the hearts and minds of Malaysian Indian voters wooing and cajoling them on stage during ceramahs.

He even portrayed himself as “Sivaji The Boss” after the movie starring Rajinikanth, in campaigning at the election.

He also rode on the dissatisfaction by Indians against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) following the jailing of five Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf) leaders who organised a mammoth rally on Nov 25, 2007.

All this translated into votes resulting in Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition pact made up of PAS, DAP and PKR, taking over four states and making huge gains in Parliament. The election saw the BN lose its long held two-thirds majority in the 222-seat Parliament.

Crucial role

Over the last four years, however, Indian support for Anwar and the opposition pact has somewhat waned due to the aggressive efforts of Prime Minister and BN chief Najib Tun Razak to woo the Indians.

Although there are no Indian-majority parliamentary seats in the country, the community plays a crucial role in deciding who represents them in Parliament, if the seat has an even distribution of Malays and Chinese.

“Anwar knows that the Indian support has somewhat dropped. He needs to boost this. He needs to get a leader who is respected and well known by the community. This leader would head PKR’s new minority aaffairs bureau.

“I am not saying that the current leaders in PKR do not fit the bill but they are relatively not that well known… he needs a solid hand to run the show,” said the source.

FMT also learnt that the present leaders in the party reacted cautiously to the idea without rejecting it outright.

Todate Anwar has held a “secret” meeting with at least three MIC central working committee members and several division Youth leaders. He is sid to have also met a MIC state chief for this purpose.

“It’s not that the current PKR leaders are rejecting the idea. They are very cautious. They do not want people coming in prior to the election, asking to contest under the Pakatan banner and then running back to the BN if they win.

“Anwar has been bitten once like this. He is also likely to be cautious to whom he gives the seats. He needs to be 100% sure of the new candidates. The existing leaders also feel that their efforts over the last four years would be wasted if MIC leaders are allowed into PKR,” said the source.

Also read:

Anwar in ‘secret’ talks to lure MIC leaders


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