Amid a rift within PKR ranks on whether to continue holding talks with PAS, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has urged party members to give room for its leadership to make its decision and provide explanations.

He said he is not against the special congress proposed by PKR vice president Mohd Rafizi Ramli, but expressed concern about holding the congress when the upcoming general election is close by.

“Personally, with an understanding of PKR’s democratic spirit, I am not opposed to holding the special congress. My doubts are about its necessity because it wouldn’t bring any fundamental changes. With the possibility of the 14th general election being held soon, any decision has to be decided quickly.

“With this explanation, I urge our friends to lend consideration and cooperation to give some room for president (Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) and the (party) leadership to give explanations, decide policy, and determine its next move in line with PKR’s stance and its cooperation with Pakatan Harapan.

“Any next move should take place through party channels,” he said in a statement today.

His statement comes in the wake of an internal dispute within PKR that led to its Kelantan members to mutiny against its leaders who are deemed too friendly to PAS.

Rafizi further brought the issue into the limelight by calling for a special congress to conclusively resolve the issue of whether or not to continue talks with PAS.

The Pakatan Harapan coalition subsequently stated that there would be no cooperation with PAS, while the PKR political bureau reaffirmed the party’s commitment to the coalition.

Anwar, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence, said he had read statements by Rafizi and other PKR leaders, and urged the party leadership to handle such concerns wisely and in through consensus.

Shedding more light on the political bureau’s decision, he said the bureau had decided that it would not make enemies out of PAS and study the possibility of avoiding three-cornered fights.

“The consideration is to gather all strength to confront Umno and BN in the 14th general election.

“The line that has been decided is that such cooperation, should it take place, should be within the framework of PKR’s commitment with Pakatan Harapan.

“(PKR deputy president Mohd Azmin Ali) had been asked to spearhead this initiative cognisant that this is a national strategy and not limited to Selangor. It should be stressed that PKR initiative is meant to clear the air and gather the people’s strength,” he said.

He said he had consistently voiced this to PKR, DAP, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, and Amanah’s leaderships, though its leaders have the right to make its own determinations from time to time.

He said people are right to be concerned by PKR and its partners, as there are fears the PAS may cooperate with Umno. However, he pointed out that PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had vehemently denied this.  [RELATED STORY: PAS ‘satisfied’ with 1MDB’s explanation on rationalisatioN – Tuan Ibrahim]

Another fact, he said, is that the issue would affect PKR’s readiness to face snap elections. This can be mitigated if PKR’s leadership and its election machinery moves swiftly as a united force to champion the people’s cause and oppose corruption, racism, and corruption, he said.