Zaid warns PKR to change leaders or turn into Umno

(The Malaysian Insider) – Leading contender for the PKR deputy presidency contest Datuk Zaid Ibrahim warned its members today that the party risks turning into another Umno unless there is a leadership change.

The former de facto law minister, who was sacked from Umno in late 2008, said PKR has been plagued with problems such as defection of lawmakers which is not faced by its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners DAP and PAS.

”Everyone says PKR is a weak party,” said Zaid in an interview published in today’s edition of Sin Chew Daily.

The former Kota Bahru MP who joined PKR in June last year said the party has lost its original direction and risks becoming the ‘second Umno’.

He claimed PKR is facing the same problems as Umno and Malaysia and so a leadership change is needed for improvement.

“If you (members) want these problems to continue, you can elect the same leadership. If you want changes, you have to change the leaders. The same leaders will result in the same problems,” said Zaid who coordinated the framing of PR’s common policy platform, launched in December last year.

Zaid is supporting party de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest the party presidency in order to legitimise his position as the PKR chief.

Supporters of another contender, Azmin Ali, however want the status quo to be maintained with Anwar continue holding the unelected position while his wife Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail serves as president.

Anwar had said that he would decline nomination to contest in the party polls.

The post of de facto leader was created after party election 2007 as a compromise between two groups who wanted Anwar to contest the presidency and the other who were against it, fearing that the party would be deregistered as the former deputy prime minister was at that time banned from holding any elected political posts.

The ban expired in April 2008.

Zaid previously alleged that since announcing his intention to contest late last month, his loyalty to the party has been questioned and he was also accused of working for former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin to destroy PKR.