It is not ‘strange’ for PKR to be controlled by Anwar’s family, says Khalid

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim

Looi Sue-Chern, The Malaysian Insider

PKR has been “controlled” by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s family since 1998 and it is not something “strange”, party vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said, refuting a denial made earlier yesterday by another party vice-president Datuk Dr Mansor Othman.

Khalid said one should not find this strange as “the party will continue to be like that but over time, people like him (Anwar) and me will go and leave behind our legacies.

“We all must have our succession plan for the party,” he said when asked to comment on both Anwar and his wife, incumbent president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, going for the presidency.

Mansor had denied yesterday that the party was controlled by Anwar’s family.

He had said that both Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah were running for the presidency because the party was going through uncertainty with Anwar facing his sodomy conviction.

Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader, is appealing against his conviction but it has been reported that the prosecution is cross-appealing to enhance his 5-year sentence.

If he fails in his appeal, he will go to prison and will have to vacate his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat and all party positions.

No other candidate is challenging the couple for the number one post, giving rise to allegations that the party is controlled by Anwar’s family.

Apart from Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah, their daughter Nurul Izzah is also a vice-president in the party. She is also seeking to keep her post in the party elections.

Khalid said Anwar had remained an iconic figure in the party since 1998 when the Reformasi movement began.

“We must work with Anwar, even though we might not be 100% agreeable with his visions. We must evaluate them with our own mind and wisdom.

“It is working with Anwar that makes PKR stronger,” he said after a meeting with some 50 Penang PKR members at the Sunway Carnival Convention Centre in Seberang Jaya on mainland Penang yesterday evening.

There had been several statements made over the last few days on the need for the party to move beyond Anwar.

Deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali had said on Friday that PKR was not an Anwar-centric party and it must be sensible to allow opportunity and space for its second generation of leaders to get ready to take over the helm.

Yesterday, PKR Women’s chief Zuraida Kamaruddin had also said that the party has to come out of Anwar’s shadow for its survival.

Khalid, who is contesting the deputy president’s post in the party polls, said there cannot always be “yes men” who want to be like Anwar and that the party cannot rely on just one man to think.

He also mentioned that Anwar had said before that he (Khalid) did not always listen to him.

“I say that is good because it balances things… we can check our minds and views. That is good for my credibility as well because I do not follow the leaders blindly.

“If the deputy just likes Anwar but is not brave enough to voice out, it can be bad too. So I offer myself (to be deputy president) as the balancing factor,” he said.

In the upcoming party polls, Khalid is up against Azmin who will be out to retain the number 2 post that he won in 2010. Other top guns contesting the deputy president’s position are PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Hulu Selangor party branch member Datuk K. Ramachandran.

Khalid, who is also Selangor menteri besar, said he had proven that he does what is right and only what he agrees with.

He also said he has a good track record as the menteri besar.

On the “alliance” formed by Saifuddin, Khalid said some candidates chose to contest in that manner.

“I do not want to comment so much about it. This is a democracy. Some contest in teams while others go it alone.

“We are in a direct election. The value of a single vote is the same for me, Azmin and even Anwar,” he said.