PKR polls and Malaysia's future political landscape: Sin Chew Daily

KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The dust has almost settled on Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR’s) heated elections.

Datuk Seri Azmin Ali is confirmed to be re-elected as party deputy president, while his challenger Rafizi Ramli has failed to unseat him.

The party’s election committee will make the official announcement during the party’s general congress this weekend.

Based on the results released by the election committee so far, coupled with the fact that there will be no fresh election for the highly controversial Julau division, it is almost certain that Azmin is the ultimate winner in the tightly contested race.

There have been a fair share of irregularities taking place during the course of the party’s elections, seriously tarnishing the image of the country’s largest ruling party and hurting the credibility of the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

Incoming president Anwar Ibrahim, who is prepared to take over the premiership from Tun Mahathir, has not demonstrated a respectable level of leadership in the midst of confidential crisis arising from the elections.

The elections have been marred by suspected vote-buying and technical issues, but the election committee’s approach in resolving the problems has been crude and inconsistent.

The legitimacy of election results in some divisions has been questionable, and this has dealt a severe blow on transparency and credibility of the elections.

Take the Julau division in Sarawak, for instance.

Some argue that an invisible hand was behind the overnight surge in the number of eligible voters.

Others complained about the tablets used in e-voting, although such technical issues have later been denied by the election committee.

In addition, the election committee has also failed to address the problem of missing ballots in some divisions.

As a consequence of the election committee’s inefficiency and incompetency, PKR’s party elections have been full of irregularities which are sadly ignored by the party’s political bureau and top leadership.

The PKR leadership must not remain in a state of denial but must seriously look into the complaints of all party members and rectify the weaknesses in relation to party elections while offering full cooperation to the investigation authorities in a bid to restore the party’s credibility.

If incoming president Anwar Ibrahim who is also the PM-in-waiting, and his wife outgoing president cum deputy PM Wan Azizah, have both failed to demonstrate a high level of leadership, their roles and abilities in the government will be questionable.

They must let the voters see the real strength of PKR as a component of the ruling coalition.

Otherwise, they cannot convince Malaysians that Anwar is capable enough to take over as PM within two years.

Anwar must have the ability to put together a party that is on the brink of division, because the party’s future is closely associated with his hold to the PM post as well as the stability of the PH government.

Following the re-election of Azmin and major party posts won by his team mates, it is anticipated that his position in the party will get further boosted, threatening Anwar’s position in party and government.

How is Anwar going to handle such an intricate relationship between him, Azmin and Rafizi?

While this appears to be a wholly internal problem of PKR, it will nevertheless have implications for the position of the PH government as well as the country’s future political landscape.

Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media entities.

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