Uphill task for PH with Sarawak PKR split, say observers

A split in Sarawak PKR, shown by a dispute over the party’s state convention in Miri today, may cost Pakatan Harapan its hopes at the next state elections, according to political observers. (Zaen Kasturi Twitter pic)

PETALING JAYA: A split in Sarawak PKR, evident in a dispute over the party’s state convention, puts the party at risk of losing voter support at the next state general election, say those in Sarawak political circles.

PBB vice-president Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said “voters will definitely be frustrated with the party’s leaders squabbling with each other”.

He said the people had hoped to see positive changes brought about by the PH government after it won the national elections last year.

“Instead, they see unfulfilled promises, increased cost of living and now, leaders busy quarreling with each other,” he said. “I’m not trying to be arrogant but (if this was to continue), I dare say that the Pakatan Harapan federal government can forget about winning the forthcoming state elections,” he told FMT.

Political analyst Jeniri Amir said the root cause of Sarawak PKR’s rift was the struggle between the factions allied to Anwar and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.

“The convention reflected the conflicts and this had given the party a bad impression. It only shows (the rakyat) that they (PKR leaders) only prioritise power,” he told FMT.

He said Azmin’s political position would be affected if Anwar was to succeed Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.

“Azmin will not be given any important post in the Federal Cabinet if Anwar becomes the prime minister. Azmin is aware of this and that was why he wanted Mahathir to complete a five-year term as prime minister,” he said.

Political activst Francis Paul Siah said Sarawak PKR would face an uphill task in the state elections taking on the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and other local parties if PKR was in disarray.

“All the local parties have support and influence in Sarawak,” he said.

He felt that Pakatan Harapan was “not on the same wavelength” as Sarawakians, who had awoken to the notion of self-determination for the state.

PH was only interested in issues related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963, while other parties had come out strongly on state independence, which he said struck the right chord with Sarawakians.

Siah said that Baru Bian’s absence from the Sarawak PKR convention in Miri could mean that trouble could be brewing if the state chairman is not on the same page as the party president.

He said the other PH component party leaders in Sarawak were tired of PKR’s infighting.

Siah described as “flimsy” Bian’s stated reason for not attending the convention, over the cancellation of an invitation for PKR deputy president Azmin Ali to officiate the party’s coming national youth congress.

“Baru should grow up and put partisanship aside. He has to make sure he uses his political influence in the party the right way – for the people in Sarawak, not for himself or for the party alone.”

He said PKR leaders should stop quarrelling in public. “Ordinary Sarawakians are sick and tired of quarrelsome politicians,” said Siah.