PKR the weakest link? We won most seats, says Anwar

Anwar Ibrahim says PKR has proved its worth by winning the most number of seats (49) in the May 9 general election.

GEORGE TOWN: PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has dismissed any notion of the party being the “weakest link” in Pakatan Harapan (PH), reminding the public that it has contributed the most number of seats for the pact in the 14th general election (GE14).

The former deputy prime minister said while PKR seemed to have been sidelined in Cabinet appointments for the new PH administration, the party would provide constructive feedback on the matter.

He said it would be done without placing undue pressure on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the pending ministerial appointments after 13 ministers under Mahathir were sworn in on May 21.

Of the 13, only three were from PKR.

They were PKR and PH president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also deputy prime minister, PKR vice-president Azmin Ali and the party’s women’s chief, Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Anwar, who is also PH de facto head, was commenting on public perception that PKR was the weakest link in PH due to disciplinary problems and slow decision-making.

“We proved our worth by winning the most number of seats (49) in the election,” he said in an interview aired live on Invoke’s Facebook page today.

“Other people can say they are great, but they don’t win many seats. People can also say their party is strong, but they don’t win many either,” he added.

He said the issue now was, as PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli had pointed out, why PKR seemed to have been sidelined in the ministerial appointments.

“Nevertheless, we’ll convey our thoughts nicely. There is still room for discussions to choose the remaining ministerial and deputy minister positions.

“We do not use Barisan Nasional’s system where Umno has absolute power,” he added.

Anwar also said both he and Wan Azizah, who is also PH president, had stressed they would give room to Mahathir to do what he needed to do. He said it would place too much of a burden on Mahathir if they continued to put pressure on him.

“We are ready to move forward. We are ready to give space to the prime minister, to let him lead even if this does not make PKR look strong, despite it being the strongest party in PH,” he said.

On concerns of factionalism in light of the looming PKR elections, Anwar said it was normal for this to happen at such a time.

He said if competition was a problem, then there would be no need for elections and parties could just appoint their leaders.

“If you have elections, you will have competition. And when you have competition, you will surely have factions. This is okay, as long as you do not cross the line,” he said.

Anwar said party members must foster stronger ties after the polls, adding that he would take action if anyone was found to be in breach of rules.

He said although he was very tolerant, with people often criticising and disagreeing with him, he was also firm when needed.

“I had taken a firm stance, especially in the choice of candidates in GE14.

“Party members now understand that I am a much sterner person now.”