Sabah PKR crisis rattles Pakatan’s Putrajaya aim

By Jahabar Sadiq, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s mission to resolve the Sabah’s chapter leadership crisis today has widened to restoring confidence in the party following state chief Pajudin Nordin’s shock defection to Umno.

The unpopular Tuaran division vice-chief quit yesterday in Kota Kinabalu with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, a day before Dr Wan Azizah was to arrive to resolve the “delicate situation”.

“We can kiss Putrajaya goodbye,” a senior Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leader told The Malaysian Insider when hearing about Pajudin jumping to Umno.

Since his appointment on January 10, Pajudin has been facing fierce opposition from other Sabah division chiefs who disagreed with his selection.

“I have lost confidence in the leadership of PKR,” he said when announcing his resignation yesterday.

PR leaders also shared the sentiment, saying Pajudin’s jump came a week after Padang Serai MP N. Gobalakrishnan quit the party that first began in 1999.

“The PKR leadership needs to figure out what went wrong and take steps to recover and get back to leading Pakatan,” a PR leader said, adding the party was the ‘glue’ that kept the opposition pact together.

The other members of the pact are PAS and DAP, which has had some fractious party elections that has been resolved in the name of party unity.

PKR has faced also a divisive party election that saw ex-Umno minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim quit the party after Gombak MP and founding vice-president Azmin Ali went ahead of him in the polls.

But the issue came to a head in Sabah when most members objected to appointments made by the PKR leadership, leading to veteran leader Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan leaving the party to last December 31 to focus on his United Borneo Front (UBF) campaign for Sabah.

PKR later appointed Pajudin who said he was disappointed with the party’s leadership alleged failure to appoint his appointment saying that Kuala Lumpur has been able to handle objections from certain local leaders.

Late last month, 18 of the state’s 25 division leaders demanded the intervention of the central leadership to reconsider Pajudin’s appointment.

Pajudin also failed to convene the state committee meeting one week after his appointment after division leaders were caught in verbal argument causing the meeting to be disrupted.