Friday, March 05, 2010

Unhappiness over influence of ‘left’ cause defections in PKR

A key reason for the spate of defections in PKR is because of disaffection over the growing influence and power wielded by what has been described as the “left group” in the party whom some party insiders claim have a “stranglehold” over Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The left group or the “socialist group” in the words of former PKR secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim, is a gathering of like-minded activists and intellectuals with left leanings from various backgrounds.

Some joined PKR individually while others are former NGO leaders and many were former Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia members who entered when the party merged with PKR.

PSRM later dropped the word socialist to become Parti Rakyat Malaysia under its than leader Dr Syed Husin Ali.

The PRM group which includes vice-president S. Sivarasa joined forces with like-minded activists like Batu MP Chua Tian Chang.

They form a powerful cabal in the PKR and dominate the decision making process, PKR insiders said.

“They are educated, articulate and have an international outlook and are totally committed and form the bulk of the top leaders after Anwar,” the PKR insider said.

“They are also the closest to Anwar and wield huge power in the decision making process,” PKR sources said adding the rise of the “left” group in PKR saw the isolation of the Malay nationalists and Islamists like Zulkifli Noordin and Bagan Serai MP Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri.

Mohsin resigned on Wednesday citing PKR’s failure to defend Islam.

He said he strongly opposed PKR’s stand in backing a court ruling allowing Christians to use the word “Allah” in their literature.

Anwar, who started as a radical Islamic student leader, appears to Malay nationalists and Islamists in the party to have abandoned the religious bandwagon, while favouring a multi-ethnic approach through Pakatan Rakyat.

His many supporters who see themselves as either Malay nationalists or Islamists and had followed him into PKR, are now isolated and feel sidelined.

PR sources say the influence of the left group in setting PKR policies on matters like the Allah issue, is a significant reason behind the defections.

They also feel the party has “betrayed” them by not recognising their role and struggles in the organisation, a PKR insider said.

It is the equivalent in the corporate world of the “betrayed” senior employee defecting to the competition with all the company’s secrets, said one former PKR leader.

“The three who have resigned have actually defected and others who are likely to follow, have an axe to grind against the left group and against Anwar for giving them so much recognition,” said the insiders.

“The defectors all hate the ‘left mafia’ in PKR that they believe has hijacked Anwar and the party,” the insiders said.

An example of the bad blood among them was a strange incident in January when a group of PKR MPs issued a joint statement in Parliament condemning Sivarasa for claiming that Anwar, in a general statement against “trouble makers” in the party, was actually referring to Zulkifli Noordin.

Some of those who blatantly hit out at Sivarasa in that incident are now suspected to be likely defectors.

The insiders said as a result of the left stranglehold, Islamists like Bagan Serai MP Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri, Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim and even Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng, “simply don’t count for much among the heavyweight left intellectuals.”

news courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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