The ‘truth’ behind PKR Sabah crisis

Reached late last night, Fuziah, who sits in the powerful PKR political bureau, declined to comment on the leaked report, saying it should not have been released without authorisation and that she did not know the so-called Anthony Mark who leaked it.

Joseph Sipalan, Malaysiakini

A lot more appears to be behind the latest controversy surrounding PKR Sabah – that of the defection of its less-than-a-month-old chief Pajudin Nordin, 40, to Umno last Saturday.

A leaked internal party report, sent to selected media via email late yesterday by one Anthony Mark, details a vicious power struggle between two groups, with the newly-minted state leader smack in the middle.

The report – prepared by PKR vice-president Fuziah Salleh – reads like a political thriller, with one group staging a coup against the embattled Pajudin, who was in turn ‘whisked away’ and held against his will by the other group on the night of Jan 24.

Fuziah was in Kota Kinabalu that night to meet with Pajudin and the 25 state cabang (division) heads, at the party’s Sabah headquarters, to decide on the new state leadership line-up.

NONEThe report says Pajudin (right) was scheduled to meet with the state cabang leaders at 8pm that night to come up with the list, before Fuziah was to join them at 9.30pm to finalise it.

However, only four cabang leaders turned up, with 18 others who opposed Pajudin’s appointment as PKR Sabah chief assembled at a hotel nearby.

The dissenters apparently stayed away from the meeting at the state party headquarters as they wanted to avoid a face-off with Batu Sapi cabang chief Hassnar Ebrahim, who they blamed for a “negative situation” arising at an earlier meeting with PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution.

Despite attempts to get the 18 to attend the meeting at the headquarters, they maintained their stance and instead urged Fuziah to meet with them where they were, to which she eventually relented.

Thuggery and ‘house arrest’

According to the report, by the time Fuziah was ready to leave the PKR Sabah office to meet with this group about 11pm, she had also convinced Pajudin to ride with her in the car and meet them as well in an attempt to secure their backing for his leadership.

It was at this juncture that the situation became tense, with “people” believed to be associated with Hassnar – a known supporter of Tuaran cabang chief Ansari Abdullah – preventing Pajudin from entering the car with Fuziah.

NONEPajudin, who was also Ansari’s (right) deputy in Tuaran, then told Fuziah that he would go with the group, and “promised” to be present at her meeting with the other 18 cabang leaders shortly after. However, the report says, he never turned up.

Numerous attempts to contact Pajudin were futile, until at around 12.20am when he contacted Fuziah to tell her that he was calling from the toilet in a place where he was “heavily guarded” and prevented from leaving.

Seven minutes later, he sent her an SMS in Malay that read, “Kak G (Fuziah), I cannot count the tears (shed) in fighting for the party. I leave it to Kak G to find the best solution. For Allah I want to go there, but I am surrounded and guarded. May Allah save the situation and the party.”

It is learnt that Pajudin had a change of heart after it was made known to him that the 18 cabang heads who opposed his appointment as PKR Sabah chief had voted en-bloc to support the formation of a state-level presidential council to replace him.

The report lists six cabang leaders as supporting Pajudin – those from Tuaran, Kota Marudu, Sipitang, Ranau, Kudat and Beluran. Batu Sapi’s vote was “suspended”.

The 18 against Pajudin are from Kota Belud, Sepanggar, Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Putatan, Kimanis, Papar, Beaufort, Keningau, Pensiangan, Tenom, Libaran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Semporna, Kalabakan, Tawau and Silam.

Pajudin released his own state line-up, online around 2.45am on Jan 25, in direct defiance of a directive that such announcements be embargoed until they are approved by the national leadership.

He also called a press conference that afternoon to announce his line-up, just hours after a press conference by Fuziah, at which she announced the proposed presidential council, saying Pajudin had failed to gain majority support as state PKR chief.

Moving forward

Reached late last night, Fuziah, who sits in the powerful PKR political bureau, declined to comment on the leaked report, saying it should not have been released without authorisation and that she did not know the so-called Anthony Mark who leaked it.

NONEHowever, she said Pajudin’s exit would not hamper PKR Sabah’s efforts to get its act together with the guidance of the presidential council, which she said was a temporary measure to gauge the calibre of the cabang heads.

The council would be like a shadow cabinet, with each leader selected given charge of a portfolio matching the ministries in the state government.

Fuziah said the initial plan was to be “all inclusive”, with the invitation extended to the six who voted for Pajudin, but they declined to sit in the council.

“We wanted to move forward with programmes, to get the cabang heads to come up with issues and policies. With a convention planned for the end of March (in Sabah), we want to help them set up a think tank to carry out research and also get them to hold regular press conferences.

“The 18 cabang heads are much disciplined and they really want to work. The 11 to 12 leaders (in the council) will be the potential leaders… hopefully, within the next few months, the real leaders will emerge,” she said.

The PKR political bureau is later this evening expected to finalise the list of 11 to 12 cabang leaders who will sit on the Sabah PKR presidential council.