KOTA KINABALU: Sabah PKR chairman Christina Liew is likely to retain her position regardless of whether she receives the backing of the majority of division chiefs, according to a party insider.
Speaking to FMT on condition of anonymity, the source said chances were that Liew would be reappointed because she has the support of outgoing party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The source said this would be despite feelings of dislike for her among many members and a sizeable number of the division chiefs in Sabah.
Liew caused some unhappiness with her decisions on seat distribution and her choice of candidates for the May 9 general election.
Many party members accused her of favouritism and also questioned her decision to contest for two seats, namely the Api Api seat and the Tawau parliamentary seat.
“Liew’s popularity among members has waned over the years,” the source said, adding that many believed she was chosen to be Sabah PKR chief only because she knew how to be on Wan Azizah’s good side.
The Sabah PKR chief is directly appointed by the party president.
Another party insider told FMT Sabah PKR was indeed split into two groups, one supporting Liew and the other backing Putatan MP Awang Husaini Sahari.
He said he believed the division chiefs would call for Liew to be replaced.
He noted that Liew and other leaders in her camp have been rejecting rumours of a rift and said this was only natural because it would be foolish on her part to admit she had lost control of the party.
The source also said some members were uneasy with incoming president Anwar Ibrahim.
“Anwar is not a likeable person in Sabah,” he said. “Wan Azizah, however, is well-loved.”
He also said incumbent deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali did not enjoy wide popularity among party members in Sabah.
“The perception is that he is too close to the prime minister and, if given the chance, would turn PKR into Umno 2.0,” he added.