KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has questioned Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan’s neutrality as a civil society leader after the prominent lawyer criticised the federal Opposition party for airing its internal squabbles publicly ahead of the 14th General Elections.
He called Ambiga’s remarks “unfair, biased and misinformed”, claiming that she was echoing views held by his rivals in PKR who sought to include PAS in the Pakatan Harapan pact despite objections from allying parties.
“I am not surprised [at] her views because she had always been against Pakatan Harapan (PH) from day one,” Rafizi told Malay Mail Online when contacted for response to her remarks last week.
“I feel Ambiga should have engaged more leaders from PKR and PH to get a more balanced view and assessment, because currently her views are confined to what she gets from (Anwar’s lawyers).
“Being a civil society leader, while she is entitled to her views, she cannot be seen as endorsing a particular faction’s view just because she is closer to them,” the Pandan MP added.
Ambiga chided PKR on social media last week after its senior political bureau members aired their disagreement on whether or not to continue electoral negotiations with PAS with time pressing in.
In a series of tweets, the president of the National Human Rights Society said voters were not interested in PKR’s internal problems, and instead urged the party to emulate the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders to lay the groundwork for elections due next year.
Rafizi said Ambiga sounded “more of a politician when she says that rather than a consistent civil society leader”, adding that she should be evaluating on principles alone.
“As a result of this, she risks being out of sync with the majority of PH supporters’ view that we must forge ahead based on principles, rather than cutting corners to accommodate PAS,” Rafizi said.
He also said Ambiga was ignorant of the fieldwork effort put in by PH leaders to prepare for elections, especially in constituencies where the vote could swing either way.
“Through Invoke, PKR has been campaigning on the ground every week, on average about eight marginal constituencies per weekend.
“In July and August, I have done 61 ceramah covering 46 marginal constituencies contested by PKR, Amanah, Bersatu and DAP and campaign videos have been watched cumulatively to 1.1 million.
“For the first time, PH through Invoke has a strategy and work plan for marginal constituencies and the public has supported greatly as exemplified by the great response to financial contribution appeal from time to time,” he added.
Citing surveys carried out by his Invoke think-tank, Rafizi said PH leaders are confident that the PKR-PPBM-DAP-Amanah pact could ride on poor voter trust towards its rivals and win even in multi-cornered fights, as the 14th General Election looks inevitably to be.