PETALING JAYA: PKR vice-president Tian Chua has urged the party’s election committee to focus on taking action against candidates whose campaigns damage the party’s image instead of introducing guidelines on how many people can attend political talks.
“Those who are guilty (of damaging the party’s image) should be sternly reprimanded, and immediately, instead of the committee worrying about how many people are in the posters or the size of the crowd at a ceramah,” he told FMT.
He was asked to comment on a new set of guidelines contained in a PKR circular issued on Sunday.
The guidelines bar candidates from holding ceramahs or large feasts attended by more than 100 people, as well as from using group images in campaign materials.
“The use of posters, advertisements and any campaign materials are meant to introduce the candidate, and must only portray the image of the candidate,” said the circular, which was signed off by PKR election committee chairman Rashid Din.
Tian Chua said people like Kapar MP Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid had done things which were very damaging to the party.
“The words they said were only retracted long after the damage was done. The election committee could have acted earlier to reprimand them to minimise the damage,” he said.
Abdullah courted controversy after claiming there was a plot to stop PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim from becoming the next prime minister.
He has since apologised to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and sent him a letter explaining the situation.
Tian Chua said he found it unusual that the guidelines had been introduced as there were previously no such rules.
He said he understood that the election committee was trying to prevent clashes, but claimed that things were already heated up, at least with one group.
“And then, the committee suddenly says it’s not allowed. The thing is, they cannot undo what was done previously.
“There are already those going around holding big gatherings or launches, with hundreds of people. They have also introduced their teams.
“So with these guidelines, while you can stop others from doing (these things) in the future, you cannot undo what has been done in the past.”
He noted that Rafizi Ramli had recently held large gatherings in Kota Kinabalu and Tawau.
“The thing is, the guidelines cannot be applied retrospectively. The so-called team has already been announced. His team has been putting out posters to support him as deputy president.”
The former Batu MP however steered clear of challenging the committee’s decision, saying its position as the umpire should be respected.
Even if the committee chose to review the guidelines, he said, it would look like it was favouring one group.
He also said the guidelines did not seem fair to everybody, and were “applied unilaterally to those who have not campaigned before”.
Ultimately, the vice-president contender said, it was an internal election.
“I cannot expect the rules and campaign methods to make much of a difference. I hope the members will know how to choose wisely, to ensure this election is conducted properly,” he added.
The 2018 PKR election will be held between Sept 14 and Oct 13.