Tuesday, April 06, 2010

PKR leaders tussle to lead Hulu Selangor campaign

Discontent fills the PKR camp over Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s self-appointment as election director for the Hulu Selangor campaign as factions jostle for leading roles in the April 25 by-election.
The Malaysian Insider understands that opponents to the Selangor Mentri Besar have come out critical of his “political skills” and viability to lead PKR in what may be their most important by-election and for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.

Party sources say there was no consensus for he campaigning chief role be given to Khalid and that he had “appointed himself” to the position much to the chagrin of his fellow PKR leaders.

A senior party leader told The Malaysian Insider that one of Khalid’s most contentious move was to allow the DAP to lead PR’s campaign for Chinese votes.

“Why do this when we have the ability to do it ourselves? This is clearly a display of inexperience from his side,” said the leader, adding the move has caused much discontent among the local Chinese PKR leaders.

Another major issue is the Selangor MB’s unpopular stringent policies on goodies hand outs to party supporters which the source say may impact on the party’s campaign.

“So is it a wise choice to endorse this guy as the Hulu Selangor vote campaigning chief? You tell me,” lamented the party leader.

Despite the apparent disapproval, it is understood that the party has endorsed Khalid’s self-appointment as he may ride on the state government’s credentials and financial strength when pitted against Barisan Nasional’s cash prowess.

“Firstly, he has no political skills whatsoever. He is known to be a capable corporate leader but a very weak political one,” another party source said, adding more complaints against the mentri besar.

The Selangor MB, a former CEO of a federal government investment arm, Permodalan Nasional Bhd, had little political experience until he formally joined PKR in 2006.

His political initiation began with the Ijok state by-election seat a year later, which he lost. However he secured the same seat in Election 2008 amid an opposition tidal wave.

Khalid’s close relation with PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and involvement in the party was apparently met with “envy” particular from party vice- president Azmin Ali and his supporters and the rivalry hit its peak when the former was made MB, a position Azmin covets.

Party sources told The Malaysian Insider that despite the patching-up between Khalid and Azmin, the enmity is being carried on by the latter’s camp and spilling over to the party’s Hulu Selangor vote preparation.

It is understood that Khalid does not enjoy the support of PKR elections director Fuziah Salleh and the party’s Selangor poll chief Abdullah Sani, two known allies of Azmin.

“So when you have a situation like this, how do you campaign? The party’s central electoral chief and even the Selangor election chief are not on your (Khalid) camp,” said one PKR source.

There is now a question of a possible internal sabotage elements in light of the widespread discontent but the source, however, said the possible cracks have been plastered by the “Anwar factor”.

“Both Fuziah and Abdullah have been instructed to cooperate with Khalid. All the factions too and there has never been any tradition to sabotage any camps when it comes to fighting BN,” said the source.

PKR will announce its candidate next Tuesday— with the candidate being finalised tonight.

The outcome of the race in Selangor according to pundits will either signify a return of BN’s popularity and the end of PR’s momentum or a rejection of the Najib administration and continuous support for the opposition pact.

They also see it as a referendum on Khalid.

PKR observers say this will be the stage for the Selangor MB to prove his critics wrong and display his political capabilities.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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