One defection a week? Why wait…? All leave now…
Is he the mastermind behind the defections from PKR or a ‘prophet’ who can see what is to come?
Former PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim (left in lilac shirt), who has denied he had masterminded the defection of three MPs, has now disclaimed ability to see into the future.
“I am not a prophet. I cannot tell you what will happen tomorrow,” he said during a press conference today.
He was an unmistakable presence at the press conference called by Bagan Serai MP Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri (right in skullcap) to announce his departure from the party – the third PKR MP to do so since Feb 12.
When quizzed by reporters, Salehuddin maintained his prediction that there would be 10 more defections, raising doubts about his role in the string of defections.
“There could be one defection every week,” he said.
Asked later if there will be two more defections before Parliament reconvenes on March 15, he enigmatically said, “Not only two; there could be even six.”
Spoke on behalf of Mohsin
Salehuddin, who answered all but one question on behalf of Mohsin, said the failure of PKR leaders to consult grassroots leaders has become the catalyst for dissent.
Quoting the Malay proverb Kera di hutan disusukan, anak sendiri mati kelaparan, (prioritising the needs of others) he accused the leadership of making “rushed decisions to please others”.
He added that the ‘Allah’ issue, which Mohsin cited as the main reason for his resignation, should have been debated at the meetings of the political bureau and leadership council.
Instead, it was a decision made by “one or two people, causing anxiety among grassroots leaders”.
Despite his tirade, Salahuddin declared that he holds true to the Reformasi principles but urged all PKR members and leaders to review their party loyalty.
“They should ask themselves ‘who is the boulder on the railway track who is delaying the journey?’,” he said.
‘Bid to smear reputation’
According to the one-time Anwar Ibrahim loyalist, those still with the party do not realise that they have lost grassroots Malay support.
“The likes of (director of strategies) Tian Chua (right) still believe that they have the support of the Malays who took to the streets during the Reformasi protests (in 1998),” Salehuddin told reporters on the sidelines of the press conference.
Asked about DAP and PAS statement yesterday declaring their steadfast loyalty to Anwar, his reply was cryptic:
“So why do they believe what I say? Durian belum luruh dah nak kira (They are taking me seriously before anything concrete has happened).”
He also hit out on PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali, who he said was resorting to “talking about (Salehuddin’s) underwear” to smear his reputation.
Syed Husin (left) had yesterday accused Salehuddin of throwing a fit because he was not given a top position in a government-linked company in Selangor.
“I suppose those who are left in the party are all perfect specimens of human beings.
“Do we not have brains? Do we not have children and grandchildren?” asked Salehuddin.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If all of us act like yes-men, then we will have nowhere to go.”
But if ethics is in question, should those who defect step down as MPs to appease voters who had supported them not as individuals but because they contested on a PKR ticket?
Salehuddin had a ready answer: “Pakatan was ready to accept 30 defectors for the sake of the Sept 16 (federal takeover) plan… and they said it is all about conscience.
“So (the defectors) don’t need to quit (as MPs) even if this decision may disappoint some voters.”
Salehuddin himself resigned from the party in January.