PKR sec-gen: Onus on Julau branch to object to dodgy members

Saifuddin stressed that only members from Julau may object to the new membership applications. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Saifuddin stressed that only members from Julau may object to the new membership applications. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 10 — The PKR central leadership cannot interfere in allegations of phantom members in Julau unless the branch there specifically reports this, said Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail yesterday.

The PKR secretary-general said that party headquarters received the membership applications from Julau on June 12, adding that no complaints were lodged by the deadline to do so.

“The PKR HQ received the 12,000-over applications from Julau on June 12. The deadline was the 26th. Then the party leadership approved the applications for Julau and more than 400,000 applications from all over Malaysia.

“After that, the new memberships become open for objections, with the final date being July 17. The onus is on the branch to object. We did not receive any objections from them,” he said when contacted by Malay Mail.

He stressed that only members from Julau may object to the new membership applications.

Saifuddin explained that while the authority to evaluate the authenticity of suspect memberships was with the central leadership, it could not do so independently of a formal complaint from the affected branch.

When such reports are filed, he said the party’s application committee will investigate.

“But as a non-Julau member, can we reject the names submitted? We can’t because there were no objections from them,” he said.

The PKR political bureau cleared the Julau branch over allegations of phantom members on Wednesday, saying it did not find any irregularities with its membership that went from 603 to over 13,000 — an increase of over 2,000 per cent.

Responding to PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya’s remarks that the party leadership was effectively endorsing electoral fraud in Julau, he claimed she was commenting without all the facts.

“I’m not sure if she is aware that there were no objections and that only the branch itself can object. 

“Who are the people making noise now? They are not from Julau. Can I reject it? No. I am not from Julau. The party leadership can only entertain objections from the branch itself,” he insisted.

He also disputed a Malaysiakini news report that found 11,000 Julau PKR members sharing just 11 addresses.

The news portal said it pulled the information from the Julau PKR membership database.

“It’s not true, I have the hard copy with me,” Saifuddin said.

He then sought to allay suspicions regarding the over 2,100 per cent increase in the Julau membership by saying the party received a flood of applications after the May 9 general election.

On Latheefa’s allegation that he issued two circulars with conflicting membership numbers for Julau— 66 versus 13,178 — Saifuddin said the version with the lower figure was outdated and corrected almost immediately.

“The first circular was issued on June 27 at 9.20pm. And then I realised there was an error because it was not the latest figures, so I redistributed it at 9.45pm — only 20 minutes after — and acknowledged the human error.

“We also made it clear that the second circular was the right number,” he said.

Saifuddin said the PKR polls will proceed in Julau with the disputed roll as this was decided by the party leadership.

“We have discussed this in our political bureau over and over. The last one was two nights ago. All party leaders — including all factions — were present and we reached a consensus to go ahead,” he said.

Incumbent Julau PKR branch chairman Semana Sawang told Malay Mail previously that the roll was suspect and allegedly included even dead people, but said it was too late now to clean it up as the party leaders had decided to adopt it in toto.

Latheefa also asserted that the Julau membership alone was greater than all 30 PKR branches in Sarawak combined, which she placed at over 9,000.