Ansari says will respect PKR brass but defends Pajudin

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

Influential PKR leader Ansari Abdullah has vowed not to lobby to be the next Sabah party chief, and defended Pajudin Nordin for leaving the post and defecting to Umno.

The Tuaran PKR division chief told The Malaysian Insider that he would respect the party leadership’s decision to form a presidential council to run the state chapter instead of appointing a new chief.

Despite describing Pajudin’s move as shocking and disappointing, Ansari insisted that his former vice-chief in Tuaran had been a capable, loyal and an irreplaceable leader in the party.

He added that it was “impossible” that Pajudin had been bought over by Umno, saying that it was likely the party leadership’s fault that his close ally had left.

“This is one guy you cannot entice with money. It is not money or position for him… I have known him for the past 12 years and he is not weak when it comes to his commitment to the party.

“I personally believe that he was unhappy with the decision to remove him, because in the first place, he never asked for the job. He was put there and from Day One, he struggled with problems,” Ansari told The Malaysian Insider.

He added that it was likely that those who had rejected Pajudin’s appointment were using the move as a proxy for their frustrations against the national leadership.

 “It is not a question of people not wanting him or not liking him but that they were disappointed in the central leadership,” he said.

The party’s national leadership had appointed Pajudin as Sabah PKR chief on January 10, causing a ripple in the state leadership as his name had never been on the list of potential candidates.

Pajudin was, however, seen by many state leaders as Ansari’s proxy as he was the latter’s vice-chief in PKR’s Tuaran division.

Ansari is said to be the biggest rival of former Sabah PKR chief Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, who leads the second faction in the state chapter and whose loyalists have also been lobbying against his removal from the post.

The leaders then conveyed their disapproval to the party’s national leadership and 18 divisional leaders signed a resolution, calling for Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to take over as interim chairman.

To resolve the protracted crisis, party president Dr Wan Azizah then flew to Sabah over the weekend and formed an 11-member presidential council to replace Pajudin, a move that led to the latter’s defection to Umno.

Ansari could not predict if the leadership crisis would come to an end with the intervention of the central leadership but promised that he would not question his leaders.

“I cannot speak for others but on my part, check my history. From 1999, I never attacked the party leadership for their decisions.

“I have given 12 years of my life to the party and I am very protective of it. Look, I lost my bid in the vice-presidency race during the party polls last year and presently, I am no longer a supreme council member but just a division chief in Tuaran.

“It is okay, I accept the people’s decision,” he said.

Ansari also pointed out that PKR’s constitution gave full powers to the party president to decide on the candidate for the post of state chief.

This, he added, meant Dr Wan Azizah could appoint any candidate of her choice even if the person did not command the majority support of all state divisions.

“I do look up to her and so I will not push for the post although we do not have a state chief now.

“Maybe it is because I am a lawyer but I respect that the party constitution says that the president has the full power,” he said when contacted today.

Ansari, who was formerly Sabah PKR chief himself, however pointed out that prior to the appointment of Pajudin Nordin to the post in January, he had received the support of 18 of the state’s 25 divisions.