SHAH ALAM, Apr 21 — With PKR having its 25th anniversary this year, its deputy president Rafizi Ramli said today is a good time to evaluate and review how to build the party to be strong enough for the next 50 years.

He said this is a good time to look for new ways to form stronger bonds, building towards a stronger party for the future generation.

“Because we have seen the parties especially when they have acquired power, and they don’t look for new ways to build on their strengths based on new challenges and complexities and that is why they become weaker over time,” Rafizi told a audience of about 4,000 delegates at the Ideal Convention Centre here.

Drawing comparison to world-famous film photography pioneer brand, Kodak or formally known as Eastman Kodak Company, Rafizi warned against “being complacent” which eventually led the company to bankruptcy.

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“When digital screens started to come out, chips started to come out, Kodak saw the threat to film, but they were complacent.

“So when society started changing, within 20 years, Kodak, from the biggest company, went bankrupt, disappeared and they can’t get back up, even with billions of dollars until now they can't get up, it's gone,” he said.

He said that PKR likewise is now facing big challenges at age 25 with most of its reforms having been delayed by “one generation”.

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He said that in the past 15 months, the PKR leadership’s time and focus has been on running the government.

“It isn’t because we have forgotten about the party, but the priority is to ensure the execution of these reforms need to be decided and enforced as soon as possible, so we cannot run away from that priority,” he said.

Rafizi said PKR needs to prepare for the 16th general election, adding that it is only about two and a half years’ away.

And so, instead of doing like other celebratory events to mark the party’s 25th anniversary, he said PKR members’ gifts will not be cash packets for Raya or even “kuih Raya” but a laundry list of tasks that need doing.

“Just like what I mentioned Kodak and other organisations, that strength must be in line with the changing times.

“When reform started, even if we didn't realise it, there were some special skills that we built as a result of the party’s existence and that has allowed us to survive for 20 years until we were elected by the people to take the reins of government,” he said.

He said an example of the “skills” that were inherent in PKR was the ability to stage rallies, which he said eventually inspired the Bersih series of street demonstrations.

“At the time, that was a skill to watch — who was the bravest, who had the ability to organise demonstrations, who knows what back lanes that could be used as escape routes during demonstrations.

“And then we had strengths in giving ceramah, our abilities were to break down and raise current issues and expose scandals. Those were our strengths without us realising it,” he said.

Rafizi also recalled how PKR used to be at the forefront in utilising alternative media and electronic media to promote its message when it was an Opposition party, but said its playbook is now being used by its political foes today.

“Our strength in alternative media and electronic media is no longer at the dominant level which we had before.

“Therefore, today the party will launch two frameworks — Organisational Empowerment of the Party 25 in conjunction with our 25th party anniversary; and KEMAS16, a framework of PKR winning the 16th general election series.

“These two frameworks are aimed at reinforcing our strengths from the grassroots up, to create our new strength so that we can be at the front of our preparations facing the coming general election,” he said.

Even though PKR is now a ruling party, Rafizi urged its members to stay the course of reform.

“It does not mean that after we have won the elections and now we are the government our work is done.

“Our work is never done, and it will not end, one of the reasons is because our party is a reformation party.

“The previous government used government machinery to build their strengths, raise funds, we cannot do that because we don’t want to burden our future generation,” he said.