Nurul Izzah: Pakatan at ‘make or break’ point


(Malay Mail Online) – Leaderless following the jailing of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and torn by open discord over hudud, Pakatan Rakyat is perched between breaking apart and rallying back to its former strength, said PKR vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar.

In a profile piece by the Financial Times today, the Lembah Pantai MP acknowledged that the twin issues facing the loose electoral pact risked erasing most of the gains the tripartite alliance has made from 2008 up until Election 2013.

Anwar this week finally stopped being a federal lawmaker after the disqualification from his sodomy conviction took effect owing to the rejection of his petition for a royal pardon, leaving the pact without a federal opposition leader.

The complex task of choosing his stand-in is made more difficult now that DAP and PAS have essentially frozen their collaboration over the latter’s push for Islamic penal law in Kelantan, leaving the PR pact intact largely in name only.

“It’s a make or break moment. But we should rise above [it] and understand what’s at stake here,” Nurul was quoted as saying by the London-based business magazine.

Several names have been informally floated as a replacement for Anwar as the head of the pact, this time including leaders from all three parties. But the hostility between PAS and DAP make it unlikely that either will accept a candidate from the other.

This leaves PKR as the most likely source of the MP that will serve as federal opposition leader in Parliament.

Among the PKR names bandied about is Nurul Izzah, but she told the FT that the selecting a new opposition leader is far less crucial than ending the dissension within the PR pact.

“You could have anyone to be a figurehead but if you keep bickering with one another and issuing statements that hurt each other, it’s going to be tough,” she was quoted as saying in the report.

“We have to stick to decisions made as a coalition. So I think that process is far more important than who leads.”

Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia on Tuesday formally announced Anwar’s disqualification as Permatang Pauh MP, while the Election Commission also confirmed that a by-election will be held for the constituency.

DAP’s Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari yesterday said PR’s Penang federal lawmakers had met on Friday, but did not discuss who should contest the poll, adding that the decision belonged to PKR.

On March 21, DAP said it has severed ties with PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang over his party’s push to enforce hudud in Kelantan, but reaffirmed its commitment to the PR pact.

The curious arrangement, however, leaves the PR presidential council in a limbo as it cannot achieve the consensus that is purportedly required for policy decisions.