Malaysia

It is not ‘strange’ for PKR to be controlled by Anwar’s family, says Khalid

Khalid is vying for the PKR deputy president's post in the upcoming party elections against the incumbent Azmin Ali and Saifuddin Nasution. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Husain, April 14, 2014Khalid is vying for the PKR deputy president's post in the upcoming party elections against the incumbent Azmin Ali and Saifuddin Nasution. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Husain, April 14, 2014PKR has been "controlled" by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's family since 1998 and it is not something "strange", party vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said, refuting a denial made earlier yesterday by another party vice-president Datuk Dr Mansor Othman.

Khalid said one should not find this strange as "the party will continue to be like that but over time, people like him (Anwar) and me will go and leave behind our legacies.

"We all must have our succession plan for the party," he said when asked to comment on both Anwar and his wife, incumbent president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, going for the presidency.

Mansor had denied yesterday that the party was controlled by Anwar's family.

He had said that both Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah were running for the presidency because the party was going through uncertainty with Anwar facing his sodomy conviction.

Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader, is appealing against his conviction but it has been reported that the prosecution is cross-appealing to enhance his 5-year sentence.

If he fails in his appeal, he will go to prison and will have to vacate his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat and all party positions.

No other candidate is challenging the couple for the number one post, giving rise to allegations that the party is controlled by Anwar's family.

Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah are both vying for the post of PKR president, but some party members say it is a contingency against the sodomy conviction which Anwar is currently appealing. - The Malaysian Insider pic, April 14, 2014Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah are both vying for the post of PKR president, but some party members say it is a contingency against the sodomy conviction which Anwar is currently appealing. - The Malaysian Insider pic, April 14, 2014Apart from Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah, their daughter Nurul Izzah is also a vice-president in the party. She is also seeking to keep her post in the party elections.

Khalid said Anwar had remained an iconic figure in the party since 1998 when the Reformasi movement began.

"We must work with Anwar, even though we might not be 100% agreeable with his visions. We must evaluate them with our own mind and wisdom.

"It is working with Anwar that makes PKR stronger," he said after a meeting with some 50 Penang PKR members at the Sunway Carnival Convention Centre in Seberang Jaya on mainland Penang yesterday evening.

There had been several statements made over the last few days on the need for the party to move beyond Anwar.

Deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali had said on Friday that PKR was not an Anwar-centric party and it must be sensible to allow opportunity and space for its second generation of leaders to get ready to take over the helm.

Yesterday, PKR Women's chief Zuraida Kamaruddin had also said that the party has to come out of Anwar's shadow for its survival.

Khalid, who is contesting the deputy president's post in the party polls, said there cannot always be "yes men" who want to be like Anwar and that the party cannot rely on just one man to think.

He also mentioned that Anwar had said before that he (Khalid) did not always listen to him.

"I say that is good because it balances things... we can check our minds and views. That is good for my credibility as well because I do not follow the leaders blindly.

"If the deputy just likes Anwar but is not brave enough to voice out, it can be bad too. So I offer myself (to be deputy president) as the balancing factor," he said.

In the upcoming party polls, Khalid is up against Azmin who will be out to retain the number 2 post that he won in 2010. Other top guns contesting the deputy president's position are PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Hulu Selangor party branch member Datuk K. Ramachandran.

Khalid, who is also Selangor menteri besar, said he had proven that he does what is right and only what he agrees with.

He also said he has a good track record as the menteri besar.

On the "alliance" formed by Saifuddin, Khalid said some candidates chose to contest in that manner.

"I do not want to comment so much about it. This is a democracy. Some contest in teams while others go it alone.

"We are in a direct election. The value of a single vote is the same for me, Azmin and even Anwar," he said.

Saifuddin has joined forces with Nurul Izzah and party strategist Rafizi Ramli, who is also running for vice-president, in his bid to win the number 2 post.

Khalid said he does not think his chances are affected because of the alliance.

"It is alright. It is a test. I am not alone. There are others who are with me," he said.

When asked what he thinks of pundits putting their money on Saifuddin, he said pundits have a small percentage of accuracy.

"We will see. I have my strengths. So does he and Azmin. I am honest and I have integrity," he said, adding that his contribution to the party can be quantified.

But when asked to compare his integrity and experience in governance with the incumbent (Azmin), he declined to respond, simply saying, "I better not talk too much".

Khalid also played down criticisms against him, saying that it only shows that some people are being nosy without knowing or finding out the truth.

Khalid has been visiting PKR members in Penang and Kedah today to introduce himself as a candidate for the party deputy president's post.

At the event in Seberang Jaya, he was asked by some members about allegations linking him to Barisan Nasional (BN) following the Selangor water deal he signed with Putrajaya.

He said he is happy to make friends with even his "enemies" if the outcome is good for the people.

"We have to be magnanimous. If we want to grow the country, we must find the best ways to solve problems.

"For instance, even those who do not like communists have worked with them for trade," he said.

Khalid also defended the deal he signed with Putrajaya to end Selangor's water woes, saying that it is confidential under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) because it is a federal matter.

"It is true that it is under the OSA. The deal is by the federal government and if we sign a federal deal we have to respect that.

"What did we do in the end? We opened up the document... this is why we need wisdom and capability. You get angry, protest on the street, get arrested... it is a waste of time.

"There are many ways to solve problems. We can give ideas and show examples of good management," he said.

Khalid said people have also thought that he had been "bought" over by BN over the water issue but he said if that was true, he would had been bought over a long time ago.

"If we do a good job, then BN will support us. It is not because we have been bought. We cannot work by going to war every day (with the federal government).

"If Putrajaya wants to build a mass transit railway, I will agree. If Putrajaya wants to bring the MRT to Penang, I am sure even (chief minister) Lim Guan Eng will also agree because it is good for the people, not because he has been bought."

Khalid then had the PKR members laughing when he said: "If you elect me as deputy president, I will be even more expensive."

PKR is holding direct elections to choose leaders at all levels, including the top posts. The elections begin on April 25 and end on May 11. – April 14, 2014.

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