What's behind the PKR resignations?

What's behind the PKR resignations?

By Shanon Shah and Patrick Kratzenstein

"Pakatan [Rakyat] will not last long ... I will not be a part of this group of people which are destroying my country, my race and my religion ... Today's PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) and Pakatan [are] now a far cry from practi[s]ing the pure struggle of 'reformasi' which de facto PKR leader [Datuk Seri] Anwar Ibrahim himself, a friend of 30 years, invited me to join."

BAYAN Baru Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, announcing his resignation from PKR. Before quitting the party, Zahrain was relentless in accusing Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng of dictatorship, chauvinism and being "communist-minded".

The PKR leadership wanted Zahrain to face the party's disciplinary committee, but then he quit and said he would remain an independent MP. Zahrain was PKR's first federal lawmaker to quit the party. (Source: Bayan Baru MP Zahrain quits PKR, Malaysiakini, 12 Feb 2010)

"There is no longer any avenue to voice our grievances. In fact, I have been told not to openly criticise the party leaders. This is not what PKR used to stand for — accountability and justice ... Party leaders are apparently untouchable. They are willing to turn a blind eye to internal problems in their bid to achieve their political objectives."

Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng, upon becoming PKR's second federal lawmaker to resign after Zahrain. Like Zahrain, Tan was merciless in publicly condemning the Penang chief minister, and was also called to face the party's disciplinary committee. (Source: Tee Beng quits PKR, Malaysiakini, 1 March 2010)

To date, PKR has not only lost two federal lawmakers, bringing its current number of MPs down to 28, but also a state assemblyperson and a couple of other party leaders as well.

"I have been monitoring every article, announcement, and press statements on [the] Allah issue ... I am very saddened by the stance taken by Pakatan Rakyat leaders that is very loose, in that they cannot even defend something so basic. And that broke my patience ... I hereby announce that based on the principles of defending my religion and race, and the rakyat, I am joining Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN)."
Former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, upon quitting PKR to join Umno at the end of February 2010. In 2009, there was also speculation that Fairus would quit the party and join Umno after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission started investigating him.

However, he did not quit the party then, only his post as deputy chief minister and state assemblyperson, thus triggering the Penanti by-election. (Source: Former Penang Dep CM Fairus quits PKR, joins Umno, The Star, 28 Feb 2010)

"I will not ever let go of my post as assembly[person]; I was elected by the people and not appointed by the menteri besar of Selangor."

PKR's Port Klang assemblyperson Badrul Hisham Abdullah, who added that he had decided to quit the party because certain party leaders wanted him to quit his state seat. If Badrul had quit as assemblyperson, that would have forced a by-election not unlike the one necessitated by Fairus's 2009 resignation.

Badrul said although he was now an independent assemblyperson, he would support the BN. (Source: Port Klang rep Badrul Hisham quits PKR, The Star, 29 Oct 2009)

"I thank Anwar and [party president Datuk Seri Dr] Wan Azizah [Wan Ismail], for giving me opportunities and treating me well, but I fail to see Anwar acting to rectify the situation. Instead, Anwar is obsessed with taking Putrajaya."

Tan, taking a parting shot and accusing Anwar of ignoring PKR's internal problems. (Source: Tee Beng quits PKR, Malaysiakini, 1 March 2010)

"I am not a staff...I am the heart and soul [of the party secretariat]."

Former PKR secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim, who quit the party on 1 March 2010. He had resigned as secretary-general in January. Although Salehuddin has not disclosed his reasons for quitting the party, he was seen at Zahrain's resignation press conference. (Source: Ex-PKR sec-gen Salehuddin quits party, The Malaysian Insider, 1 March 2010)

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