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Anwar admits flaws in polls, vows sweeping probe

November 28, 2010
Anwar admits flaws in polls, vows sweeping probe
Andrew Ong
Nov 28, 10
12:22am
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has finally broke his silence on the litany of complaints over the party polls and vowed that all complaints will be taken seriously. 

“Were there weaknesses? Yes. Must there be improvements? Yes. And if there is evidence of fraud at any of the stages, will we take action? Yes.

“Will we cover up any of the cases? No. Will we taken action? Yes, but only on condition that there is evidence (of foul play),” Anwar told supporters in a ceramah at the ongoing PKR congress in the Petaling Jaya Civics Hall last night.

Anwar said that the party had not imposed any restrictions on candidates to voice their complaints to the elections committee and encouraged them to present their case.

zaid ibrahim pc 091110 mustaffa kamil ayub and zaidSeveral big names in PKR such as its two deputy presidency candidates – Zaid Ibrahim and Mustaffa Kamil Ayub – along with Youth chief candidate Badrul Hisham Shaharin has made broad accusations of irregularities in the polls.

Zaid has since left the party in protest but Mustaffa and Badrul Hisham have complained publicly about the alleged fraud.

The party headquarters have however shot down the complaints, claiming that the complainants had not provided enough evidence to facilitate investigations.

Success despite cost constraints

Anwar also defended the credibility of the polls, arguing that 70,000 out of the party’s approximate 370,000 members had cast their ballots.

He also defended PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and the central elections committee’s running of the elections.

He said that unlike the federal Election Commission which has a budget of RM250 million to run the elections, the elections committee had only a fraction of this to spend for its elections.

pkr congress pc 271110 saifuddin nasutionWhen approached later, Saifuddin said that the cost of the elections was capped at RM500,000 and stressed that “we spent less than that”.

Anwar also claimed that the allegations of fraud were being blown out of proportion by the media.

“Why were we wrong? It was because Utusan Malaysia said that we are wrong. But since when Utusan have ever said we were right?” asked Anwar with a chuckle.

Need to work on multiracialism

Meanwhile, Anwar said that the party elections had also revealed that some new party members had yet to fully comprehend the party’s multiracial agenda.

He said that this was based on his observation of various campaigns mounted by the candidates during the polls.

“Some members have only joined for two or three years and still see things through narrow racial perspectives… We still need to educate them,” he said.

pkr congress pc 271110  wan azizah anwarIn closing, Anwar urged his audience, mostly made up of delegates at the congress, not to lose sight the party’s objectives in the upcoming general election.

He said that despite the setbacks, the party had a track record of making big gains after a series of small losses.

“When we lost Ijok (state assembly seat in 2007), we won Selangor (in 2008). We lost in Batu Sapi (on Nov 4), we can take Sabah (in the future),” said Anwar.

The two-day PKR congress will close later today with the official announcement of the new party leadership.

 

Delegates on soul-searching mode
Regina Lee and Aidila Razak
Nov 27, 10
7:56pm
As the curtains were raised for the two-day PKR annual congress this morning, there was anticipation over how party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail would address the recently concluded party elections.

But as expected, the party leadership was quick to go on damage control over how their first ever direct elections were conducted, complete with a video presentation accompanied by dramatic orchestral background music.

pkr congress 271110 crowdWith words thrown about such as “democracy fiesta” and a “celebration of democracy” in both Saifuddin and party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s opening speeches, it was still hard to ignore the protest that took place outside the function hall.

Although there are doubts on whether the majority of protestors were actually party members, there is no doubt however that there are some serious flaws in the electoral process which had yet to be addressed.

Take this morning for example, the simple exercise of electing a deputy permanent chairperson was also marred with claims that a candidate was not listed despite having received the necessary number of nominations.

Sounding the battle-cry for GE

If Saifuddin’s very terse explanation over the incident was given during the actual elections process, it is undoubted that he would have come under more attack by party members as merely “glossing over”.

But the fact that most delegates didn’t put up much of a challenge to this could either translate to general disillusionment, or the fact that they just want to move on after this exhausting episode.

While only one delegate outrightly showed his displeasure at the elections process during today’s debate, many others were in fact giving more constructive criticism on how to improve it for the next round.

Youth delegate Lee Khai Loon had called for, among other things, a cap on the campaign spending as well as an integrity pact, while Melaka delegate Md Yusof Abdullah suggested that new members should serve a certain period of time before being allowed to contest.

But top on many delegates’ agenda is to mainly close ranks, move on and prepare for the next general elections.

Sarawak delegates Granda Aing and Ahmad Nazib Johari were particularly more concerned about the impending state elections that has to be called by June next year.

Still sore over Zaid

But if there is any recurring theme since the party’s inception in 1998, it was the members’ disdain for the mainstream media and their adoration for de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Almost every single delegate had hit out at the perceived party enemy, Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia and the mainstream media in general over the coverage of the party elections.

Ranging from labelling the press such as “prostitutes” and “tools”, the delegates were surprisingly more restrained in their criticism of former Federal Territories PKR chief Zaid Ibrahim.

Despite not mentioning his name, it is evident that delegates are still sore with him.

pkr congress 271110 anwar“The role of BN and Umno is to attack Anwar… but when there are voices within the party questioning his position as the de facto leader, this really saddens us,” said Terengganu delegate Fariz Musa.

Although the wounds from the Zaid-debacle evidently still fresh, it appears to have led to an introspective mood among delegates.

With snap polls looming, the general sentiment expressed centered on the need to quickly close ranks, leaving the usual dose of Umno-bashing on the wayside.

The 7th PKR congress will end tomorrow with the official announcement of the new leadership which will spearhead the party in both the upcoming Sarawak and national polls.

PKR delegates back Anwar amid growing criticism
Aidila Razak
Nov 27, 10
4:48pm
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s position should not be regarded as undemocratic, a delegate told the PKR national congress today.

While debating the presidential address, Terengganu delegate Fariz Musa (left) said that Anwar was not only qualified, but democratically appointed to the position by party members during the party congress in 2007.

“In the 2007 congress, we had unanimously passed a resolution to appoint Anwar as the de facto leader. He did not promote himself. It was we who gave him that honour,” he said, to rapturous applause from the floor.

In the past few weeks, Anwar’s position as de facto leader have come under scrutiny after it was questioned by former Federal Territories PKR chief Zaid Ibrahim.

pkr congress pc 271110  wan azizah anwarZaid claims that Anwar’s position was undemocratic and had left party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as a mere puppet.

Yesterday, PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Ibrahim mooted that the de facto leader post be made an official position and incorporated into the party constitution.

This morning, Wan Azizah had shot down the idea.

A weapon, diamond and gift from God

Meanwhile, Fariz said that while party members regard him as the de facto leader, it does not mean that he is not open to criticism, but urged members to do it through the proper channels.

“We should defend him not because he is maksum (without faults) but because he is our main weapon,” he said, who later led the delegation in giving Anwar a standing ovation.

His views were echoed by Srikandi (Wanita wing youth unit) delegate Siti Aishah Shaik Ismail (left), who likened the de facto leader to a “diamond”.

“We have a diamond in our hands, protect it, don’t let it turn into glass… When PKR and Pakatan Rakyat is strong, Anwar will be safe,” she said.

She added that it would be “naïve” to expect Anwar to contest in the party polls because he is recognized as a leader not just locally but all over the world.

“If PAS has a mursyidul am (spiritual leader) then we too can have a de facto leader,” she said.

In her policy speech this morning, Wan Azizah set the tone to recognise Anwar’s position by stating that he was a “gift from god” to lead the country.

The 7th PKR congress will end tomorrow with the official announcement of the new leadership which will spearhead the party in both the upcoming Sarawak and national polls.

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