A SPECIAL congress should be formed immediately by PKR to resolve once and for all the relationship between Islamist party PAS and the Selangor state government, PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli said.
He said the differences over the matter (of whether to cooperate with PAS to maintain control of Selangor) has split the party and caused confusion among grassroots supporters.
“And this confusion is affecting the party’s preparation for the coming 14th general election,” he said in a statement today.
The Pakatan Rakyat coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS captured Selangor in the 12th general election.
Selangor PAS commissioner Sallehen Mukhyi said on Thursday that it will contest 42 state seats, including the seats of PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Kajang) and Selangor Mentri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali (Bukit Antarabangsa).
Rafizi said there are three pertinent issues that PKR members must resolve quickly:
- The question of principles – party members need to decide whether the need for victory in Selangor and for PKR to maintain its seats all over the country would override the principles that PKR is founded on.
- The question of current reality – would a three-corner fight really give an advantage to Umno as feared?
- The question of moral responsibility – does PKR have a moral responsibility to be on the front lines to remove Najib Razak from power for the sake of the people.
“There are those that believe the party’s biggest priority is to maintain control over Selangor,” Rafizi said.
“By this thinking, PKR must not take risks as this would cause instability to the Selangor government.
“Three-corner fights would then be avoided at all costs (according to this thinking). Such a pragmatic approach is not surprising as it is common in politics,” Rafizi said.
However, Rafizi pointed to others who feel PKR has a “moral duty” to stick to the principles of social justice that is the bedrock of the party’s struggle.
“This group places moral responsibility above the importance of winning seats as principles are more important than political pragmatism for the sake of seeking power alone.
Rafizi said “the entire world” knows which of the party’s leaders felt this way, naming himself, Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (secretary general), Johari Abdul (chief whip), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (youth leader), Tan Yew Kew (treasurer general), Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (information chief) and William Leong as having a similar stance.
Rafizi maintained that Umno support is not as strong as reported, saying as late as 2017, INVOKE – a pollster that was co-founded by him – found that support for Umno in Selangor had dropped to below 40%.
A three-cornered fight would favour Pakatan Harapan should the coalition maintain at least 30% support of the Malays, Rafizi said.
In this scenario, Umno is projected to only receive 30% support from the Malays, he said.
In pushing ahead without PAS, Rafizi said a speculated one-on-one fight seat configuration would involve PKR contesting 15 seats, DAP 15 seats, PAS 14 seats, Bersatu 10 seats and Amanah two seats.
“Such a plan would be impossible to achieve as Azmin would not be able to convince DAP to accept PAS in the Selangor government and he would not be able to convince Amanah to contest only two seats,” he said.
In his statement, Rafizi also listed those who are still in support of negotiating with PAS for one-on-one fights.
They are listed as Azmin, vice-presidents Chua Tian Chang, Shamdul Iskandar and Xavier Jeyakumar, Dr Shaharuddin Badaruddin, Zuraida Kamaruddin (women chief), political bureau members Sivarasa Rasiah, Saifuddin Abdullah, Kamaruddin Jaafar, Fahmi Fadzil (communications director), N. Surendran, state exco Elizabeth Wong, Hee Loy Sian, Siti Aaishah Sheikh Ismail, Mohamad Nur Manuty, Latheefa Koya, Afif Baharuddin and Haniza Talha.
Other members listed as not in favour of cooperating with PAS are Sim Tze Tzin (strategic director), Jingga 13 head coordinator Fariz Musa, Gen Abdul Hadi Al-Khatab (disciplinary board chairman) and Christina Liew (Sabah chairman), Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, Wong Chen, Rodziah Ismail, Fuziah Salleh, S. Manivannan, Gooi Hsiao Loong, Azan Ismail, Dr Idris Ahmad, Dr Azman Ismail, Hassan Karim and Aminuddin Haron.