KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — 32 Sarawak PKR leaders flew into Kuala Lumpur today to seek an audience with party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, demanding their rights to autonomy.
Led by Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian, the 32 beseeched Anwar to save the party from “manoeuvring” politicians who are trying to oust Baru and interfere with their affairs, particularly the upcoming PKR Youth Convention which has had its fair share of controversy recently.
“We would like to clarify that our collective statement was in no way intended to be a threat.
“We are genuinely dismayed and disturbed by recent events that have betrayed our party’s principles of justice and democracy. As much as other national leaders wish to portray the narrative that the retracting of the invitation to officiate at the PKR Youth Convention was merely a move away from tradition, we must remind everyone that 21 out of 25 elected youth leaders had opposed the retraction (of invitation letter from Deputy President Datuk Seri Azmin Ali).
“And yet, this was ignored in favour of appointed youth leaders,” Baru was quoted saying in The Star Online.
The PKR Youth Convention had earlier invited deputy-president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to officiate their event, but his invitation was rescinded by PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail. Instead, deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will officiate the convention.
This prompted Baru and other PKR Sarawak leader to call for the convention on NovEMBER 23 to be cancelled to protest against the perceived snub of Azmin.
Baru said the hasty decision to cancel Azmin’s invitation is a clear attempt to throttle democracy in PKR.
Today, Baru, surrounded by the 32, who claim they represent almost 20,000 PKR members in Sarawak, said that he rejected dirty politics, citing “sweetener deals” and “plots to oust him as the Sarawak PKR state chief” according to The Star report.
“We are very disappointed with our national leaders who have dishonoured our gentlemen’s agreement that PKR in Sarawak and Sabah are to enjoy autonomy in all state matters.
“A state convention comes under the purview of the state but the decision by headquarters to proceed with the state convention blatantly ignores the wishes of the majority of the state leadership and breaches the autonomy agreement.
“We strongly urge the top leaders to close ranks for the sake of the party and to respect PKR Sarawak’s autonomy in making decisions involving the state,” said Baru.
National Convention Director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said that the convention will go on in Miri as scheduled.
A list of branch leaders supporting the continuation of the convention was also circulated.
Azmin claims the rescinding of the invitation was done by hidden hands in order to stop him from speaking to the party’s youth and said it is time to hold an emergency crisis meeting.