KOTA KINABALU: PKR’s Sepanggar division chief Dr Roland Chia, who is aligned to deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, has hit out at attempts to discredit his bid to defend his post in the coming party polls.
He said his support for Azmin should not affect his re-election effort.
“I am defending my division post at the wishes of party members and based on my track record as the former Inanam assemblyman (2008-2013).
“Being in Azmin’s camp is not a disadvantage because this is a democratic reform party. That means we have a democratic process of electing leaders because at the end of the day, it is down to the members to evaluate them,” he told FMT.
A party source had previously cautioned that Chia could face a hurdle as he was identified with the faction that wanted Azmin as PKR president instead of de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Chia, who is a member of PKR’s central leadership council, was not fielded as a candidate in the May 9 general election.
Penampang chief Kenny Chua was picked to contest Chia’s former Inanam state seat which he won, and was later appointed state assistant finance minister.
The party source said Chia could face a three-way fight to keep his Sepanggar post.
However, Chia dismissed the talk of factions, saying party unity could be achieved with an Anwar-Azmin combination which had proven effective over the last 20 years.
He also said PKR was lucky to have a capable, loyal and experienced leader in Azmin who had never deviated from the reform cause.
He called on party members to uphold the combination of Anwar and Azmin as the president and deputy president respectively.
“My hope is that this combination will propel PKR as the best party in Malaysia,” he said, adding that Azmin had all the qualities to lead the party in the future, with his experience as the former Selangor menteri besar.
Chia said PKR members must also ensure the integrity of the party through consensus if it aspired to become the strongest party in Pakatan Harapan.
“As the political party with the most seats in the Dewan Rakyat, PKR must move to solidify our consensus to guarantee the reform agenda in the country.
“The party polls is a platform to ensure this agenda is implemented,” he added.
Chia said he was ready to take on anyone who stood against him for the Sepanggar post.
“But my advice is, no personal attacks. Let’s debate on party issues and not personal ones because that will be against the reforma agenda.
“This also goes out to others in their respective divisions,” he said.