PETALING JAYA: PKR’s controversial decision to omit several notable former MPs from the 15th general election (GE15) may plunge the party into another crisis.
According to Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir, the dropping of former MPs such as Maria Chin Abdullah (Petaling Jaya) and R Sivarasa (Sungai Buloh) would leave their supporters “disillusioned”, especially as the former parliamentarians were “credible and very effective”.
“We have seen over the years how PKR has been embroiled in many crises and power struggles. This will probably lead to another crisis if not handled properly.
“Do you think their supporters will keep quiet? They will react, and they might even sabotage the party by not voting for Pakatan Harapan (PH) in GE15,” he told FMT.
Probably the biggest crisis to have hit PKR came in February 2020 when former PKR deputy president, Azmin Ali, defected from the party along with 10 other PKR MPs – resulting in the collapse of the PH government in an incident known as the Sheraton Move.
Jeniri also doubted PKR president Anwar Ibrahim’s rationale that Maria, Sivarasa, and other MPs were dropped to allow the younger generation to come up the ranks.
Anwar was reported to have said that letting go of old hands for newer faces was a difficult decision, but it was inevitable as part of the “law of nature” in spurring the party’s regeneration process.
“I don’t believe it. I’m sceptical about Anwar’s reason and I think there’s another agenda behind this,” Jeniri said.
“Maybe they (the former MPs) are seen as Azmin supporters and the party is trying to kill these people off.
“But PKR must realise that it’s very important to retain established faces at this hour – not drop them. They are PKR’s flag bearers and they rise to the occasion (when needed).”
Apart from Maria and Sivarasa, Johari Abdul (Sungai Petani), Natrah Ismail (Sekijang), June Leow (Hulu Selangor), Tan Yee Kiew (Wangsa Maju), Dr Lee Boon Chye (Gopeng), and Chan Ming Kai (Alor Setar) will also not be defending their seats for PKR. It is understood Lee and Tan had previously informed the party they planned to retire after their current term.
Among those who had expressed disappointment with the decision not to include the former MPs in GE15 was former PKR vice-president Tian Chua. He warned that “shuffling MPs and seats like cards” would hurt the party’s grassroots and frustrate the voters who supported PKR and their elected representatives.
Noting the reaction that followed PKR leaving out influential grassroots leaders, Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said he was sure it would create a “negative perception” towards PKR and PH.
“Anwar should have learnt from the Melaka elections, where their youngest candidate there lost badly as she was an unknown on the ground,” he said.
“But we see that happening again. So, when they (Anwar and PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli) say they want new faces, I think they want someone they can control.
“Some of the new faces are not only new to PKR, but they’re also not well known nationally. It’s very odd that such new faces have been picked in this manner, and I’m sure there will be some brickbats.”
Azmi also noted that Anwar would face some flak for promoting young faces but then going on to nominate his 69-year-old wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, for the Bandar Tun Razak seat.
“I’m not sure if she should be nominated as this will create some bad perception among PKR members,” he said.