Surendran a victim of ‘purge’ in PKR, says Paulsen

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen questions how Padang Serai PKR division chief M Karupaiya could be a better candidate than Surendran. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen has criticised PKR for dropping N Surendran as a candidate in the upcoming polls, calling the latter a victim of a “purge” within the party.

“Extremely disappointed my colleague N Surendran was dropped. Only reason I can think of is that it is a party purge against those who are not of the ‘right’ faction.

“He has been an outstanding MP championing numerous human rights issues, including deaths in custody, police shootings, detention without trial, statelessness, defending human rights defenders and, of course, Anwar, the party and many of its members,” Paulsen said in two tweets.

On Tuesday, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail confirmed that Surendran was not chosen to defend his Padang Serai seat and had also been dropped from the party’s GE14 list altogether.

The parliamentary seat in Kedah will now be contested by Padang Serai PKR division chief M Karupaiya.

In a subsequent tweet, Paulsen took aim at Karupaiya’s credentials for becoming an MP, let alone serving the people.

“The GE should not be treated like a party election. Don’t take the people’s support for granted by putting any Tom, Dick or Karupaiya just because he is in your faction.

“We want the best qualified person to be MP. In what bizarro world is Karupaiya a better candidate than Surendran?”

Rumours had been circulating in recent weeks that Surendran was among a few elected representatives who were to be dropped as they were said to be close to PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali.

However, last-minute negotiations between the party’s top two prior to the announcement of the party’s candidates on Tuesday led to a compromise with another MP, Tian Chua, being given a reprieve to defend his Batu parliamentary seat, while others were retained or moved to other constituencies.

There was no respite, however, for Surendran. Also dropped were Kamarul Baharin Abbas, a two-term MP for Teluk Kemang, which is now known as Port Dickson, Batu Pahat MP Mohd Idris Jusi and Wangsa Maju MP Tan Kee Kwong.