Another crisis brewing for PKR


Ian McIntyre, The Heat Online 

PKR HOGGED the limelight last year, but for all the wrong reasons. The move to oust former corporate figure Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as mentri besar of Selangor split the party down the middle.

After a failed attempt to make party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail the new chief executive of the state, her deputy in the party, Azmin Ali, emerged to replace Khalid.

Azmin has since consolidated his position as the Mentri Besar of Selangor with a series of ground-breaking new policies.

The dust has barely settled on the Khalid saga and a new battle is brewing in Penang, a Pakatan Rakyat stronghold and after Selangor, the state where PKR has the second largest membership base.

Longtime party loyalist Datuk Mansor Othman, now the chairman of the Penang PKR liaison committee, is said to be “marked for removal”.

Reports have emerged that at least seven division heads are unhappy with Mansor’s leadership. “There are elements of cronyism and autocratic rule,” one division leader alleges. “Isn’t that just like Umno?”

At the heart of Mansor’s problem is his inability to appease the divisional leaders who are clamouring for “greater recognition” – in short a bigger slice of the pie.

To illustrate their point, only one division head, Felix Ooi, has been nominated and accepted as a municipal councillor in Penang.

Incidentally, this is the second time that Ooi has been appointed to the council. He served two terms previously before making way for others. The others are “old” faces, giving rise to allegations of cronyism.

Many disgruntled members also allege that many decisions are made at the political bureau level instead of the state liaison committee, of which every division head is a member.

Members of the political bureau are appointed by the state chairman whereas the division heads are elected. “Under our constitution, the top decision-making body is the liaison committee, but a bureau,” a disgruntled division leader says.