Despite Chegubard's suspension, PKR insists still room for dissent

PKR disciplinary committee announced that Badrul Hisham Shaharin (second right), popularly known as Chegubard, was suspended from the party for claiming its current election process was dirty and that PKR's election committee was secretly aligned to some candidates. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
PKR disciplinary committee announced that Badrul Hisham Shaharin (second right), popularly known as Chegubard, was suspended from the party for claiming its current election process was dirty and that PKR's election committee was secretly aligned to some candidates. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

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KAJANG, May 28 ― PKR’s suspension of Badrul Hisham Shaharin for dissent does not mean the party is intolerant of criticism, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.

“There is still freedom in the party. Chegubard has given his criticisms but some of what he has tarnished the party's image,” the PKR president told reporters at a news conference here..

Earlier this afternoon, PKR disciplinary committee announced that Badrul, popularly known as Chegubard, was suspended from the party for claiming its current election process was dirty and that PKR's election committee was secretly aligned to some candidates.

“We have a lot of flaws, some screws need to be tightened,” Dr Wan Azizah added, when asked to comment on what she thought of this year's party election process.

She also admitted that PKR's direct voting system was “idealistic” and that implementing it had several challenges which needed to be addressed.

PKR's central elections committee (JPP) claimed today that the reported incidents of violence over the course of the party's recent elections may have been orchestrated by gangsters.

JPP chairman Datuk Johari Abdul said the evidence collected so far point to the  likelihood that outsiders were brought in to sabotage the polling process in at least two branches.

Johari said that the party would prefer to complete its own investigations before involving the police.

He could not say conclusively that the culprits were outsiders.

Johari said the incidents could be part of a larger agenda to sabotage the party polls, though he could not say why anyone would want to do that.

The party, meanwhile, will continue with the re-election process in 35 branches where results were deemed void due to various circumstances, starting with 10 branches in the north and east coast regions.

Members in the Setiu, Kuala Nerus, Kemaman, Dungun, Jerantut, Paya Besar, Pasir Puteh and Pengerang will cast their ballots on May 31 while the Tenggara and Sungai Petani branch members will vote on June 1.

Johari said the dates for the remaining 25 branches will be announced next week once they are done with this weekend’s re-election.

He was earlier reported to have said that the JPP decided on holding re-elections at the 35 branches amid growing protests by party members over alleged improprieties in the polling process and altercations that party leaders claimed were started by outsiders.

At least 15 members have since been sacked following the altercations, along with over 10 members suspended pending the completion of investigations on alleged violations of party polls regulations.

This is the second party polls using a direct voting system involving half a million members nationwide.

It was first introduced during PKR’s last 2010 polls, which was fraught with allegations of corruption and voter manipulation.

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