Sunday, October 3, 2010

PKR polls: Anwar slams use of Umno media

October 03, 2010
LONDON, Oct 3 — In what appeared to be a dig at deputy presidential hopeful Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has warned candidates in the ongoing party elections not to resort to media channels controlled by archrivals Umno.

Zaid has been interviewed by both Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia and the New Straits Times daily in recent weeks, complaining that powerful forces in the party were against his tilt for the party’s No 2 post vacated by incumbent Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali.

“Candidates should be cautioned not to exploit Umno media to attack our policies and leaders. Do not allow the party to be abused by using Umno media and propaganda,” the opposition leader said after a talk here yesterday.

He also aimed a comment at “those using Umno media to whack us” by reminding over a hundred Malaysians here that PKR was struggling for reform and did not “need Umno media or money.”

Several party leaders had lashed out at the former de facto law minister for claiming that his candidacy was being blocked and insinuating that it was under orders from supporters of Anwar and his rival for the No. 2 post, Azmin Ali, in a recent interview with Mingguan Malaysia.

“Even though we may love Azmin or Anwar, it shouldn’t be to the extent where orders are issued not to nominate me,” Zaid had said.

This is the second time Anwar has chastised Zaid’s campaign indirectly after refuting Zaid’s claim that an “Umno culture” was emerging in the party and warning PKR members of possible “Trojan horses” within the party.

The Permatang Pauh MP (picture) also reminded candidates to respect the process of direct elections and let members decide by listening to candidates without harming the party’s commitment to reforms. He said that airing grievances in the media during the party elections played into Barisan Nasional’s agenda to highlight problems in PKR and distract from more important issues such as corruption.

“All leaders are important but some will win and some will lose. It is not a matter of winner taking all. Those who lose should not also lose sight of the bigger agenda for reform,” the former deputy prime minister added.

The hotly contested fight for deputy presidency which has also seen current vice president Mustaffa Kamil Ayub throwing his hat into the ring, has revealed deep divisions within PKR and thrown the party’s commitment to direct elections into sharp focus.

Azmin, who is also Selangor chief, is believed to be Anwar’s preferred choice, while Zaid is said to be popular with East Malaysian and non-Malay members in the country’s largest multi-racial political party. Zaid joined the party last year after Umno kicked him out for being seen with opposition leaders.

PKR amended its constitution last year to give one member one vote in direct elections.

Las month, some 400,000 PKR members began voting for divisional leaders and the 25 members of the central leadership council, including president, deputy president and four vice presidents.

The party’s 218 divisions will hold two separate meetings, one for the annual general meeting and election of divisional leaders, and a second to vote for national leaders.

The divisions will vote for national leaders on weekends, from October 29 to November 21.

Malaysian Insider

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