Sarawak PKR says Azmin snub shows party’s democracy eroding

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali arrives at Parliament November 7, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali arrives at Parliament November 7, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUCHING, Nov 15 — The Sarawak PKR leadership today said it is dismayed and disturbed that deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali's invitation to officiate PKR Youth National Convention was rescinded unilaterally.

“It has been a long-standing tradition and convention of all political parties worldwide to have the deputy president officiate the conventions of the various wings of the parties and PKR has followed in this venerable tradition since its inception,” the party’s Sarawak chapter said in a statement.

It said this tradition has been summarily discarded, despite a more than two-thirds majority of elected PKR Youth office bearers signing on their unequivocal support for Azmin to officiate their convention.

It said the unilateral decision by a handful of leaders to rescind the invitation shows there is no respect for the voice of party members represented by elected office bearers.

“Democracy within the party is now under serious threat and is being blatantly disregarded,” the Sarawak chapter said.

It asked where the principle of "one member, one vote" was.

“If left unchecked, disregarding this will make PKR's democratic principles an embarrassing farce.

“We cannot and will not condone such an attack on the democratic principles which the party stands for and on which it was founded.

“As responsible leaders, this crisis must be arrested now before it leads to the total fragmentation of the party which we have struggled to put together in the name of democracy and justice,” he said.

The Sarawak PKR called on the party’s top leadership to avert a party crisis immediately, saying that unless it is resolved satisfactorily and democratic principles are restored and honoured within the party, the Sarawak PKR Convention scheduled for November 23 in Miri, Sarawak will be cancelled.

The statement was signed by the state PKR chairman and federal Works Minister Baru Bian, PKR national vice chairman and Saratok Member of Parliament Ali Biju, Sarawak PKR vice chairman Baharuddin Datuk Mokshen, vice chairman and Puncak Borneo Member of Parliament Willie Mongin, vice chairman Nicholas Bawin, PKR women national vice chairman Voon Shiak Ni, state PKR Women chief Nurhanim Datuk Mokshen and state PKR State Election director and Batu Lintang State Assemblyman See Chee How.

Azmin, who is also the federal economic affairs minister, was invited to officiate at the National PKR Youth Convention in Melaka on December 6.

However, PKR Youth chief Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir was reported to have said two days ago that the convention would be opened by former president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, instead.

Akmal Nasrullah reportedly had said the decision was formally communicated to the central political bureau chaired by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Azmin then described the decision to revoke his invitation to officiate the opening of the party’s Youth National Convention as unprecedented.

He had said he was confident the Youth chief would not have done such a thing without outside interference.

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