By Neville Spykerman
PETALING JAYA, March 16 — A penchant for corrupt practises and desire for top posts is plaguing PKR as disgruntled members demand a bountiful payback for supporting the party to historic wins in Election 2008.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim warned that Umno’s culture for largesse is entrenched in PKR and the party’s reform agenda is being hamstrung by their own members.
“Please, this is a culture of 50 years which cannot be changed in 700 days.” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, when asked why PKR members were still insisting on handouts and behaving no better than political rivals Umno.
The mentri besar said changing the old mind set would take time.
He acknowledged there were those who joined the party so they could use it as their own platform and some were disgruntled because he was not giving them land and approving their projects.
“I have taken a stand that we cannot give preference for contracts and allocations to our members.” he said, while explaining that a difference must be drawn between state administration and political parties.
Khalid points out it was for good reason that voters in Selangor gave their mandate to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the general elections two years ago.
“They wanted change. A democratic, efficient administration and we are delivering.”
Two days ago, while concluding the PKR Kuala Selangor division Annual General Meeting (AGM) Khalid told his members that the party could not accept those who joined for ‘benefits’.
He reiterated that PKR stood for reform and his administration wanted to break away from Barisan Nasional’s (BN) old politics.
“In the past, they could do what they wanted and give contracts to those who they wished. But we will ensure that all will get an opportunity and no one will be left behind.”
However on the ground, Khalid’s noble intentions and prudent fiscal policies are being criticised by those who expect payback for their loyalty to the party.
“When we were the opposition (in Selangor) I had to use my own money to fund party activities but now that we’re the government, I’m still using my own money.” said a grassroots’ disgruntled party leader who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He added while the public may be happy with the mentri besar reform policies, there are grassroots members who are unhappy with his tight grip on the purse strings.
This was demonstrated during the AGM on Sunday, when disgruntled members attempted to halt the meeting (AGM) after claiming it was unconstitutional. The meeting continued after it was put to a vote.
In January, 11 division committee members, including the Youth and Wanita chiefs, resigned after claiming they have lost confidence in Khalid’s leadership.
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