Independent review of PKR polls needed, says ex-deputy president

Former PKR deputy president Chandra Muzaffar.

PETALING JAYA: Political scientist Chandra Muzaffar has suggested that PKR appoint an independent panel to review its internal elections and to recommend fresh polls if warranted.

Chandra, who is a former deputy president of PKR, told FMT the credibility of the ongoing polls was in doubt following claims of sabotage, phantom voting and general disorder at several of the party’s divisions.

“While the e-voting is innovative and encourages members to participate in the voting process, there are weaknesses which need to be looked into,” he said.

“The independent panel could recommend that elections be held again either in the problem states or the entire country.

“But the new elections can wait until the current process is over because it might be difficult to apply the brakes now.”

The elections are expected to be completed in the middle of next month.

Chandra was commenting on reported disturbances at the polls in Kedah last month and claims of fraud in Damansara last Sunday.

There have also been questions about the integrity of the polls in Melaka and Negeri Sembilan. PKR vice-president Tian Chua has called for an audit of the elections in the two southern states.

Political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff told FMT he was disappointed that PKR, having often demanded independent observation of general elections, had not thought of the same for its own polls.

“Bersih and other civic groups or even foreign observers could have been called in,” he said.

He said PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim was wrong to downplay the weaknesses of the polling process when he said it was generally satisfactory although there were some problems with the biometric system.

“It is not a small thing,” Kamarul said. “Videos of disorderly conduct have gone viral across social media. All these incidents are not good for PKR.

“PKR leaders need to make sure there is democracy in their party and the election problem does not grow into a bigger image problem.”