PKR communication chief quits, vexed with Anwar?

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid, Free Malaysia Today

PKR’s Jonson Chong quit his post as communications director yesterday in what sources described as a protest move against the party’s top leadership.

They claimed that Chong had been “disillusioned” by the central leadership’s lack of political will for internal reform, and had been mulling quitting for some time.

When contacted, Chong confirmed his resignation, but denied that he had threw in the towel in protest.

“Yes, I tendered my resignation. I want to focus on my professional commitment,” the lawyer told FMT.

While Chong was diplomatic about his decision, sources close to him however said that he was frustrated that the top leadership was not moving in the right direction.

He was upset that various reform initiatives were thwarted, mainly by party supremo Anwar Ibrahim himself.

“Of course he’s denying it. He is a party loyalist. Telling the real reason will expose the party’s weaknesses and you know how PKR is when it comes to such matters,” said one party official.

There might be some merit to the allegation since several PKR leaders, contacted by FMT, said they were in the dark about Chong’s resignation.

However, PKR Wanita chief Zuraidah Kamaruddin said the matter was raised by Anwar during last night’s political bureau meeting.

“Anwar accepted Chong’s resignation,” she told FMT. “Chong said in his resignation letter that he wanted to focus on his work outside the party and his role as the party’s strategic implementation committee member.”

Anwar’s politics alienating leaders

Meanwhile, sources said Chong had been at odds with with Anwar over various issues, including the latter’s alleged preference to keep his support base in the party intact instead of taking PKR forward.

“There are initiatives like cutting the bureaucracy that will do good for the party but Anwar shot it down because he knows that some of his loyalists will be upset that they may be left out.

“Remember, Chong is from NGO background. It is all about working for him, but Anwar is a politician.To be fair, Anwar has his considerations too. But if it is not helping the party, then it is time to change things,” said another party insider.

Previously, PKR’s former secretary-general Salahuddin Hashim had accused Anwar of “under-utilising” leaders with real talent.

According to him, the opposition leader had “poor human management skills” and this resulted in the loss of key allies.

Echoing this, the party insider said a clear example was the resignation of Zahrain Hashim, the former PKR Penang chief who was once in Anwar’s inner circle.