New Sabah PKR leadership expected in April

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — The protracted leadership crisis in Sabah PKR is expected to end in an April convention with the 11-man presidential council making way for a new state leadership.

Party deputy president Azmin Ali has confirmed that members of a new liaison committee for the troubled state chapter will be selected and appointed during the convention, likely to be held in the first week of the month.

The Malaysian Insider understands however that the council will only be dissolved at the behest of party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (picture), who currently chairs the body.

Wan Azizah had formed the council earlier this month after she was forced to intervene in the prolonged leadership tussle in Sabah.

“If she agrees, the council will be dissolved and we can finally appoint new members of the state leadership. Hopefully, this will be a smooth process,” said a party source.

The transition plan is set to be in tandem with the party’s preparation for the coming general election, said to be held by year-end.

Azmin also confirmed that every state is expected to prepare its list of potential candidates for the polls by March 20.

The Malaysian Insider also understands that members of the presidential council were finalised during the party’s state leadership meeting last night and should be announced tomorrow.

“It was accommodated,” said the party source when asked if the appointments had been based on consensus by Sabah PKR leaders.

The source added that the council was an “issues-based” body with each member holding specific portfolios like education, youth, security and others.

It is believed that former Sabah PKR chief Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, an influential leader of one of the factions in the state, has been commissioned to hold a post in the council.

Sabah PKR has been plagued by a crisis for years and has seen a succession of five state chiefs since 2006 — including the latest chief, Pajudin Nordin, who defected to Umno this month.

Following the departure of Awang Tengah Amin as state chief in 2006, every other successor has failed to command enough support to unite the feuding factions.

First to follow was Ansari Abdullah, today PKR’s Tuaran division chief, but his appointment came under strong opposition from former vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

Next, PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s right-hand man Azmin Ali was made state chief, resulting in an even louder chorus of disapproval from state leaders.

In 2009, Thamrin was roped in to lead the state but this was yet again rejected as the appointment had not been based on consensus from local leaders.