The party denies allegations that its Johor chief Chua Jui Meng, has strained ties between PKR and DAP in the past two years.
“There is no issue of a collapse among Pakatan Rakyat coalition parties in Johor over the past two years as claimed by [Johor DAP chief] Dr Boo [Cheng Hau] as PKR has always invited DAP leaders for its functions and vice versa,” PKR deputy secretary-general Steven Choong said in a statement today.
Instead, Choong suggested that any tension existing between the two parties was a result of Boo’s rejection of PKR’s invitations as well as his “unkind remarks” towards Chua and PKR.
Yesterday, Boo had said that the development over the past two years had been detrimental to Johor Pakatan Rakyat unity and placed the blame squarely on Chua’s shoulders.
“…Johor Pakatan had cordial inter-party relationships and [was] effective in resolving seats negotiation at the state level previously before Chua joined Pakatan,” he had said in a statement.
He claimed that Chua had acted “like an absolute monarch” within Johor Pakatan by vetoing a consensus among grassroots leaders on the Johor Baru parliament line-up, in which DAP was to contest in the Stulang state seat, PAS the Tanjung Puteri state seat and PKR the Johor Baru parliamentary seat.
Responding to this, Choong said: “Boo’s claim… is again untrue. PKR’s stand is that all seats belong to the party and no one has the single right to let go of any seat without the prior consent of the party’s top brass.”
“Hence, Johor Baru PKR violated the party’s direction and the agreement could not be binding on PKR. I was instructed by the party, not Chua, to communicate PKR’s stand to the leaders of the three parties of the Johor Baru parliamentary division or branch in 2011,” he added.
Karpal’s intervention regretted
Choong said that it was “unkind” of Boo to maintain that Chua did not respect the history of close collaboration among the three parties, and urged the latter to show evidence that Chua was “turning PKR into another MCA”.
Yesterday, Boo had said Chua was only interested in getting a safe seat for himself in the next election, and “insisted on unreasonable requests in getting Bakri or Segamat for himself to contest knowing that both [Pakatan] and the general public do not welcome him in Gelang Patah”.
But Choong denied this, stressing instead that the seats in exchange for Gelang Patah were “merely a proposal that DAP is free to reject and ignore”.
“Boo has to show proof to substantiate his allegation that ‘the reason behind Chua’s selfish and unreasonable demand is to find himself a safe seat’. As explained [previously], Chua is in no position to demand where he wishes to contest,” he said.
But he neither confirmed nor denied Boo’s claim that Chua was “the black hand” behind the months-long “vicious, anonymous attacks” against Johor DAP.
Meanwhile, Choong said it was unfortunate that DAP chairman Karpal Singh had joined in to support Boo’s claim in his call for Anwar Ibrahim to conduct an inquiry.
He was referring to Karpal’s call for the coalition to probe Boo’s allegations that Chua was sabotaging the coalition.
Backing Boo, Karpal also said that the credibility of Chua was suspect following his long sojourn in MCA and by extension in Barisan Nasional.
Karpal added that Chua’s unsuccessful attempt in 2004 at the MCA presidency and “his obvious overzealous enthusiasm to regain a seat in parliament certainly exposes a credibility problem which may appear to consume the better part of his intellect”.
Chua: Pure political rubbish
Meanwhile, when contacted, Chua vehemently denied that he was behind the anonymous attacks against the DAP.
“[Boo’s accusation] is completely untrue and political rubbish. On the contrary, Boo has repeatedly (been) coming out in the Chinese press making statements in relation to seat allocations including threats through his state deputy which includes having three-cornered fights if his demands are not met,” said Chua in a text message to FMT.
“The last attack was particularly obnoxious and exceedingly provocative and unseemly for a political ally.
“I have been patient in trying to avert any open hostility and will continue to practice restraint with the fond hope and prayer that PR will prevail in Johor,” stressed the Johor PKR chief.