A senior PKR leader has shot down claims that party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution’s appointment as special adviser to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was done without its political bureau’s approval.

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli told Malaysiakini there are minutes of the bureau’s meetings that clearly mentioned discussions on strengthening Malay leadership in Penang.

“Although I didn’t go, I missed a lot (of meetings)… But I get the minutes every day.

“And the appointment of Saifuddin was discussed with the (PKR) president and even Anwar (Ibrahim) for months and months already,” said the Pandan MP, who added that the final decision was made sometime last week.

On concerns over possible conflict of interest, Rafizi pointed out that Saifuddin was appointed as an adviser to Lim and the Penang state government, instead of DAP.

“The way I look at it, the fact that the Penang state government has agreed to appoint a very senior Malay leader to an advisory position means that they acknowledge the fact that they need to do more to counter the racial politics, which BN had always played against the Penang government,” he said.

“By right, it should be a very positive thing for the rakyat and Pakatan Harapan,” he added.

Rafizi was responding to a source who told Malaysiakini that Saifuddin’s new position could place him in a conflicted position and cast doubt over the latter’s loyalty to PKR.

Among others, the source cited as an example, a potential conflict in any future negotiations between PKR and DAP with regards to seat allocations in the 14th General Election.

“The issue is, how can a secretary-general of one party be an adviser to another party’s secretary-general?” said the source, who also claimed that no approval was given by PKR’s political bureau for Saifuddin to be appointed to the post.

“If the person (Saifuddin) does not hold any important party post (in PKR), then there is no issue. But he is the secretary-general, which is one of the highest positions in the party,” the source pointed out.

Pro-BN bloggers had also accused Lim of allegedly trying to break apart PKR by placing Saifuddin under DAP’s payroll through the adviser’s post.

Malaysiakini has contacted Saifuddin for comments on the matter.

– M’kini