Major crisis looming in PKR

(The Star) PETALING JAYA: Dark clouds are again gathering over PKR as the party moves to douse the fire set by its maverick Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Nordin.

It also suffered another setback as the party’s Pahang deputy chief Azan Ismail, who is also Indera Mahkota MP, quit his post yesterday.

PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has called for a special political bureau meeting today. Among the issues to be decided is Zulkifli’s fate in the party.

This is the latest of many crises to beset PKR since the 2008 general election.

Anwar, at his roadshow in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday evening, openly warned that disciplinary action would be taken against Zulkifli.

“I have warned him not to cause tension. This time he has gone overboard,’’ he said.

The roadshow is said to be held to garner public sympathy in the run up to his sodomy trial.

There is also mounting pressure from liberal-minded PKR leaders for Zulkifli to be sacked.

Zulkifli has caused a lot of controversy by speaking freely against party policies. He even lodged a police report against PAS MP Khalid Samad over the latter’s stand over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

On Sunday, Zulkifli lodged a police report against Khalid for alleged sedition following the latter’s statement that the Selangor Non-Islamic Religion (Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 was outdated.

The enactment prohibits non-Muslims from using the word “Allah”.

Some PKR and DAP leaders have also dubbed Zulkifli as intolerant for speaking out at an inter-faith forum organised by the Bar Council in September, 2008.

Yesterday, PKR political bureau member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said Zulkifli ought to be sacked because Pakatan Rakyat should not have MPs who went against reform.

Zaid said Zulkifli had a right to object to Khalid’s call for the enactment to be amended but Zulkifli should not have lodged the police report. “It is a form of intimidation.’’

PKR strategic director Tian Chua said Zulkifli’s lodging of the police report was deliberate.

“I want to hear what he has to say first before forming an opinion.’’ PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said stern action should be taken against Zulkifli.

He said this would serve as a deterrent because it was unbecoming for a leader to attack another from the same coalition.

Despite the pressure to sack Zulkifli, some PKR leaders believe he would be let off with just a slap on his wrist.

“We cannot afford to lose an MP at this point. Too much is involved as we have to weigh the sentiments of the Muslim voters and members over the usage of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims,” said a PKR leader.

In an immediate response, Zulkifli said he would not retract the police report even though Anwar had ordered him to do so.

“I will only retract the report if Khalid retracts his statement that the enactment is outdated,’’ said Zulkifli.

He said Anwar should not be biased and take Khalid’s side in the issue.

PKR is still reeling from the resignation of three of its assemblymen, namely Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Jailu and Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah over the past year.

It then suffered another blow when Datuk Salehuddin Hashim quit his post as secretary-general earlier this month.

Salehuddin is the third secretary-general to quit the post. All the secretaries-general were said to have quit because they could not stand the culture of ‘‘killing each other in the party.’’