No more ‘Ketua Umum’, Anwar now PKR president

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today won the PKR presidency today uncontested. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today won the PKR presidency today uncontested. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PETALING JAYA, Aug 5 — Almost 20 years after PKR was formed in 1999 on the back of the “Reformasi” movement, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can finally ditch the “Ketua Umum” (de facto leader) label after he won the presidency today uncontested.

Anwar took over from his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who has been party president since the founding of PKR.

“For the position of president, only one nomination was received from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” PKR party election committee secretary Ismail Yusof announced after the end of nominations.

Ismail said unofficially there is no contender against Anwar, noting that the candidates list will only be finalised after a six-day display of the candidates list from August 8 to allow for objections to and appeals for the candidates.

“Our standard operating procedure is that all candidates’ names have to go through the process of confirmation by the party election committee and also by the auditor appointed by the party before we can confirm it.

“On August 8, we will display all the names of the candidates that are qualified to contest. There will be three days for objections and three days for appeals. After that, it is final,” he said, adding that the names will be displayed on the party website and at the offices of PKR national and state headquarters.

Dr Wan Azizah’s incumbent deputy Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali had kept everyone guessing until the last minute, as speculation was rife previously that he would either defend his post against Rafizi Ramli or go up against Anwar for the top post.

But at around 4.45pm, Azmin’s representatives sent in his nomination form for the party deputy president post, ending all speculation.

Prior to today, Anwar had held the unelected position of PKR de facto leader since the party’s inception in 1999, as imprisonment in two sodomy cases prevented him from holding office.

Anwar is free to actively participate in politics again when he received a royal pardon following his release from prison after the general election in May that Pakatan Harapan (PH) won.

Outgoing PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had last month said he hoped no one will contest against Anwar as he is an “institution”, saying that the latter should be allowed to win uncontested.

Saifuddin had also said that PKR will decide after the PKR elections on whether to abolish the post of de facto leader or to appoint a successor to the role.

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