Amid boos, Tian Chua says he will not be silenced

PKR vice-president Tian Chua says he is not afraid to face ‘friends’ who do not share his views. (Bernama pic)

AYER KEROH: PKR vice-president Tian Chua today said a personality cult is seeping into the party, amid shouts of “traitor” and boos from the nearly 3,000 people at the PKR national congress.

Tian Chua, who was among the top leaders who left midway through the congress yesterday, said he was unafraid of facing the police when the Internal Security Act was around, and there was no reason for him to be afraid of facing friends who did not share his views.

“I have never run from our struggle. Let us not be pretenders and speak our mind,” he said.

He said the plan for PKR president Anwar Ibrahim to become prime minister was never in doubt at this congress as it had been decided by the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council.

“What I’m disappointed with is that if we look back at yesterday’s debates, there are various issues to be discussed like development, relations with Singapore, water, education, poverty.

“A large number of speakers, what did they talk about?” he asked.

Tian Chua said it was easy for people to suck up, praise and proclaim Anwar as the next prime minister now compared to 20 years ago when ISA was around.

Without the contribution of all leaders past and present, he said, the party would not have achieved victory, and this should not be forgotten.

He said this included the contributions and sacrifices of party deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali.

At this point, members jeered at Tian Chua, who continued speaking.

Anwar then stood up and the boos stopped for a while.

Tian Chua said the people were now evaluating whether PKR was qualified to lead the nation and that this qualification did not come from the “cheers of its members”.

“This qualification comes from how we form a party which can be inclusive and can bring solutions to the people’s problems,” he said.

He said he believed the big danger facing the party was when its members developed blind loyalty and built a cult of personality.

“The problem is not Anwar Ibrahim, but with us members, we must have a critical mentality,” he said.

Tian Chua said Anwar, who the party “raised as the next prime minister”, was now facing the test on his ability to resolve the country’s problems.

“If we members do not realise this is the mission, we would have failed those who built this party,” he said.

He said he did not need any banners to prove his loyalty to Anwar and his support for him to be prime minister.

“My most important duty now as a leader is that I don’t want our party to become a mob, obsessed. If you want to turn this party into a party of cultural revolution, if you want to make this a party that supports leaders without question, then it’s up to the party president to save the party,” he said.

He said he would continue to speak up and defend the party’s principles.