Malaysia

As new PKR youth chief takes the stage, nine walk out

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad’s debut as PKR youth chief prompted nine out of his 20 excos to walk out when he took the stage to address the wing’s annual congress. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, August 22, 2014. Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad’s debut as PKR youth chief prompted nine out of his 20 excos to walk out when he took the stage to address the wing’s annual congress. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, August 22, 2014. Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad's tenure as PKR youth chief got off to a rocky start when nine out of his 20 exco walked out, when he took to the stage this evening to give his maiden speech at the closing of the wing's annual congress.

The exco members were apparently unhappy with the Selangor deputy speaker for claiming the wing's top post after official results of the party's internal polls revealed that he had defeated Amiruddin Shari and Mohd Nazree Yunus.

Unofficial results, however, had earlier revealed that Amirudin won the post with a hairline victory.

Official results showed that Nik Nazmi, the Seri Setia assemblyman won 4,509 votes while Amirudin, who is Batu Caves assemblyman, received 4,259 votes.  Nazree, who was PKR Youth vice-chief, only received 2,213 votes.

A spokesperson for the nine excos said Amirudin should have won the wing's top post.

"Nik Nazmi only won after a recount of votes which involved the Pensiangan division," said the spokesperson on condition of anonymity, in referring to the problem-riddled internal polls involving the Sabah division.

"We have submitted our objections to the party's election committee but it was rejected. This will be a difficult start for Nik Nazmi. He has to work hard to convince those who disagreed with the results to work with him."

But, Nik Nazmi played down the walk out, saying that everyone should accept the results. He said he has no problems working with anyone as long as they are committed towards the party.

"Our enemy is not in this hall or in the party. It is Umno-BN."

He expected such hiccups to be temporary, saying: "How long can one sulk?"

He said the important issue is not about political antics but to focus on the needs of the people who want to see the Selangor menteri besar crisis resolved soon as well as the party's preparation to wrest the Pengkalan Kubor seat in Kelantan from Umno at the coming by-election.

He described the walkout as a "disagreement within family" and said it was not as serious as in 2007, when his predecessor Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin had to step up after then youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor left the party.

Ezam left after a falling out with de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and then party vice-president Azmin Ali.

Nik Nazmi's first task for the wing is to ensure youths are still interested in the political happenings of the country.

"Since the 2008 general election, we have made politics very accessible but we have started to detect the momentum slowing down, people losing steam this year. The challenge now is to keep the momentum going," he said.

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