Just don’t do it again, Anwar says after Baru explains no-show at PKR congress

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim says he has accepted outgoing Sarawak chief Baru Bian’s explanation for his no-show at the recent party congress, after singling him out over his absence in a speech at the event last weekend.

“He did explain in detail (why he was unable to attend),” Anwar told reporters after giving a lecture at Universiti Malaya here today.

“My concern is that if our own ministers give this sort of reason, then nobody would have come for the congress.

“But my position is, he has given an explanation, we accepted it and have moved on,” he said, adding that he advised Baru to “make sure his priorities are right” in the future.

Baru, who is the works minister, previously told FMT he was unable to attend the party’s three-day national congress in Shah Alam as he had other ministerial obligations to fulfil.

He said his political secretary had informed the PKR congress secretariat well in advance of his inability to attend the meetings.

However, Anwar said in his speech on Sunday that the party had only allowed two ministers to miss the event as they had other duties to fulfil.

At the time, he said Baru had given no explanation for his absence.

Speaking today, Anwar also addressed concerns raised by some in Sarawak PKR that it is not the prerogative of the party president to elect the state chief as the state has autonomy over the issue.

“We will follow the (party) constitution but I think the issue is only being sensationalised by the media, which they always do,” he said without providing further details.

Sarawak PKR information chief Vernon Kedit previously said Sarawak and Sabah had the prerogative to elect the state party chiefs, unlike the rest of the states where the president, in this case, Anwar, appoints the state party leader.

Baru has said he is not gunning for his old position but will give way to others to lead Sarawak PKR. He said this was also why he did not contest for a position on PKR’s central leadership council.