KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Just recently launched, Parti Kuasa Rakyat that claims to lean left has reiterated its target to be a credible political force to unite all non-governmental, political actors and individuals who wish to champion the rights of the poor.
In an interview with Malay Mail, its president Kamarazaman Yaakob — the elder brother of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob — has defended its stance to be “government-friendly”, saying it is better to do so to ensure that the voices of the poor and the downtrodden are heard.
“It’s always been our policy to unite parties, organisations, individuals who share our aspirations to fight for the rights of the common man. It is not effective to do so when we are all fragmented and working in isolation,’’ said the 71-year-old veteran politician and activist.
Kamarazan also explained that the party has taken an interest to fill a void of a multi-ethnic party within the previously ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, following the departure of Gerakan from the coalition in 2018 — later joining Perikatan Nasional.
He also expressed his confidence that BN shares the party’s ideal — stemming from his trust in his younger brother Ismail Sabri.
That feeling, he said, came from the hard experience of both of them being raised by parents who earned a living by tapping rubber with 11 children.
“I trust Ismail’s aspirations in fighting for the poor as we both experience such challenges when we were growing up. We both understand the struggle.
“That is why I am confident in his message of champion Keluarga Malaysia,’’ he said, referring to the “Malaysian Family” concept mooted by Ismail Sabri after taking over the administration of the country.
Despite all these friendliness towards the prime minister, Kamarazaman was quick to deny any link between the party and Ismail Sabri or Umno.
Saying in jest, Kamarazaman said it is unfortunate at times to be known as the brother of the prime minister as regardless of his actions, his filial link would supersede his deeds.
“If I were to fall into a hole, the headlines tomorrow would read ‘brother of the prime minister falls into a hole’, but no one has ever reported that the brother of Kamarazaman has been named as the prime minister,’’ he said, laughing.
Kamarazaman again reiterated that Kuasa is an independent political party that is established with its own set goals and agenda.
“I did not consult Ismail on the formation of the party. He is his own person and so am I. I have entered politics way earlier than he did and have long since championed the rights of the poor.
“In this, I am consistent and confident of my abilities and have always charted my own way,’’ he said.
Using the term “marhaenism”, or “working for the common men”, to differentiate Kuasa from other established parties — he insisted on the need to maintain good relations with those in power.
“Why we differ from others is that instead of talking about these issues, we could help provide solutions to the powers that be,’’ he said.
Kamarazaman then gave an example of how Kuasa can propose to the government to relook its defence spending and commented further that unwarranted spending in this sector is merely driven by “capitalistic” fear and warmongers within the arms industry.
“Isn’t it better that the budget for bullets and bombs are spent on rice grains instead? Isn’t it better expenditure on guns and arms are spend on books instead? So we have workable solutions on how to push for these policies effectively,’’ he said.
He also dismissed recent assertions that the party was formed merely to snatch votes from urban seats or middle-class Malaysians from Pakatan Harapan component parties.
Kamarazaman said Kuasa, like any other political party, will push its own policies and brand that caters to the needs of the people, who ultimately will judge whether the party is worthy of their support.
“Parti Kuasa Rakyat is not here to split any votes. We are here to offer ourselves to the people, which they will votes on the polls based on the party that meet their needs and aspirations. We, as a political party offers ourselves to be judge, valued and analysed by the people, and that valuation will be made known at the polls.
“So it is unfair for other parties for example like PKR to say there is no need for another multiracial party like Kuasa to be established because we are already here.
“In this regard, I asked from which perspective do you view Kuasa from? If you view us from the view of PKR’s interest for example, then you would say that Kuasa is here to split the vote PKR is supposed to get but to the rakyat who view Kuasa, they would say, well here is a party that is relevant to us,’’ said Kamarazaman.
During its launch on October 10, Kamarazaman had said the party will be open to all ethnic groups and East Malaysians, and it will push for free education, housing and health as well as jobs for the bottom 40 per cent (B40) and middle 40 per cent (M40) households.
Apart from that, Kuasa is also seeking the abolishment of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) and replacing it with scholarships for the B40 and M40 groups.
Kamarazaman also previously said the party aims to be friendly to the government to achieve its goals, but insisted that it has no links either to Ismail Sabri and the ruling Umno, or PKR defectors Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin.
Kamarazaman had even positioned Kuasa as a credible alternative to MCA and MIC and to fill a void in Barisan Nasional, saying it is now up to the former ruling coalition dominated by Umno whether it wishes to accept his party into its fold.