PETALING JAYA: Political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff has blamed PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail for a reported internal squabble in the party.
“He is the source of the trouble,” he said in reference to a news report that PKR had rejected eight names of election candidates for Selangor in a list submitted by the party’s deputy president, Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Kamarul, who teaches at Universiti Utara Malaysia, told FMT he had learnt that Saifuddin had taken his own list of candidates to jailed PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim for his endorsement.
He said the list was different from one that the party had earlier endorsed, and accused Saifuddin of harbouring his own political agenda.
It has been reported that the tug-of-war over candidates is a continuation of the tussle between two camps in PKR, one led by Azmin and the other by vice-president Rafizi Ramli, who is aligned to party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Kamarul said the infighting would adversely affect the Pakatan Harapan (PH) campaign.
“It will hurt the image of a united front for PH and valuable time will be wasted to resolve the unnecessary infighting,” he said. “We will have to wait and see how things go.”
Former Sungai Benut MP Tawfik Ismail said the feuding had become worse than the one that developed with the so-called Kajang Move of 2014.
“PKR’s dilemma is that without PAS, it thinks it needs PPBM,” Tawfik told FMT.
He also said things had been made worse for PKR with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s presence in PH as PPBM leader and the coalition’s chairman.
“Everything started with Kajang, including the fallout with PAS, but Mahathir is the cherry on the icing,” he said.
He added that Barisan Nasional was already using the infighting to its advantage. “Mainstream papers covered the protest against Mahathir’s use of the PKR logo,” he said.
The Kajang Move was a political manoeuvre to topple then-Selangor menteri besar, Khalid Ibrahim, and replace him with Anwar. It failed because Anwar was disqualified as an election candidate after he was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to five years’ jail.
Wan Azizah stood for election in Kajang in Anwar’s place and was nominated to replace Khalid, who refused to budge and was sacked from the party, causing a constitutional crisis that lasted for months. It was eventually resolved when the Sultan of Selangor appointed Azmin to take over.
Political analyst Wong Chin Huat of the Penang Institute agreed that PH needed to minimise infighting and accommodate various factions. However, he told FMT that disputes over seats were bound to happen due to an incompatibility between coalition politics and the first-past-the-post electoral system.
“As ally parties have to negotiate to divide up constituencies to contest, the selection of candidates has to be centralised, and there is not a consistent and impartial standard operating procedure to perform such a selection,” he said.
Click here to get live updates throughout the GE14 season