Malaysia’s opposition party charged of inflating membership figures

(The Star/ANN) – A former leader of Malaysia’s opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has accused the party of inflating membership figures to demand “political equity” in the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

Former Selangor PKR secretary Mohd Nazmi Rosli said that having a large pool of members was vital in the seat negotiation process with its allies, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).

“If PKR’s membership is lower than that of those parties, it cannot demand for many seats,” he said, alleging that tell-tales signs emerging from the poor voter turnout during the divisional polls showed that the party does not have the 400,000 members that it claims to have.

For example, he said, the Sungai Petani PKR division had boasted 3,222 members but only 202 participated in the polls.

“Likewise, the voter turnout in many of the divisions was barely 5% of the number of members the divisions claim to have,” said Mohd Nazmi, adding that the size of the membership was vital in the negotiations for seats.

He also claimed that PKR depended on the PAS machinery in the general and by-elections.

“This is also another sign that PKR does not really have the numbers,” he said, adding that the party would find it difficult to win seats without the help of PAS.

Despite that, he said, PKR still acted like it was the “boss” in the opposition coalition.

In the 12th general election, PKR won 31 parliamentary seats, followed by DAP (28) and PAS (23).

PKR won 42 state seats, in contrast with the 83 won by PAS and 71 by the DAP.

Ruling Barisan Nasional coalition won 140 out of the 222 parliamentary seats and 307 out of the 505 state seats contested.