Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ex-PKR lawmaker says more will quit soon

By Clara Chooi

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — A former PKR lawmaker fuelled speculation that more will quit Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s party, saying this included MPs and state assemblymen.

The lawmaker, among five who left PKR since Election 2008, told The Malaysian Insider last night that “future defectors” had called him for advice.

“They wanted to know what it was like and they wanted my advice. They wanted to find out what I had faced,” he said on condition of anonymity.

In the past two weeks, Penang MPs Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim (Bayan Baru) and Tan Tee Beng (Nibong Tebal) had walked out of PKR citing dissatisfaction with the leadership, party and ally, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The two outspoken MPs were the most high-profile resignations followed by that of former PKR secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim and ex-Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohd Fairus Khairuddin.

The former PKR lawmaker revealed that the number of those walking out of PKR was larger than many expected, adding it was not planned as a group but as individuals.

“Each have their individual grievances and reasons on why they want to leave from PKR. I understand their positions — the decision is not an easy one to make.

“But it is not like a planned move for all to leave, like what people think. For example, person A does not know that person B wants to leave too,” he said.

He added that he could not reveal the names of those who want to leave as that would not be fair to them.

The lawmaker also rebutted claims that the defectors were being bought over by the ruling Barisan Nasional federal government, stressing that they had genuine reasons for wanting to leave.

“When they called me, they never once asked me how much I had gotten from Barisan for leaving,” he said.

Instead, the lawmaker revealed that the general consensus was that most were unhappy with the direction that the party was heading and had lost confidence in its leadership.

“I cannot say exactly that they all blame (party de facto leader Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim entirely, but they all feel that PKR has lost its way and lost its very basic ideals.

“They all believed in PKR’s struggles and ideologies and they still do but it looks like at the present moment, these struggles have become very individualistic and personal,” he said.

He noted that some also believed that the PKR was not a strong enough voice in the Pakatan Rakyat.

“It is either Anwar has failed to give good advice to the other Pakatan parties or that the other Pakatan parties refuse to listen to his advice,” said the lawmaker.

He added that over the past few months, he had been contacted by many lawmakers, both MPs and state assemblymen alike, all voicing their individual frustrations in the party.

“Some have problems with their respective division leaders or state leaders or the general party leadership too,” he said.

He told The Malaysian Insider that the defections would come soon but would not happen en bloc.

“It will be one at a time. You wait and see,” he said.

The defections of the two Penang MPs have triggered speculation that another 10 MPs and several other assemblymen would follow suit.

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