‘Anwar a liability’ story been around since 1999, says Saifuddin
“In 2008, Anwar contested the election where he also brought Pas and DAP to form Pakatan Rakyat. At the time, the people still said he’s a liability because he’s a former convict. But, in 1999, this liability managed to bring five parliamentary seats to the party and in 2018, PKR won 48 seats and subsequently we became the government.
(NST) – Sentiments describing opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a liability to PKR as its president is not news, party secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution said.
Saifuddin said such sentiments have been around since the party was formed and Anwar was sent to prison in 1999 after the latter’s fallout with Putrajaya then.
“This story about people calling Anwar a liability is not new, it has been around since 1999.
“The people asked us then how were we going to vote (in general elections) since our leader is in prison? They said he’s a liability,” he said in a press conference here in conjunction with PKR’s 16th national congress.
The PKR congress is being held at the Shah Alam Convention Centre from today until Sunday.
Saifuddin who is Kulim Bandar Baru member of parliament said critics should instead look at PKR’s achievements throughout the years, which he credited to Anwar.
“In 2008, Anwar contested the election where he also brought Pas and DAP to form Pakatan Rakyat. At the time, the people still said he’s a liability because he’s a former convict.
“But, in 1999, this liability managed to bring five parliamentary seats to the party and in 2018, PKR won 48 seats and subsequently we became the government.
“So, if we want to call him a liability, I think it’s best to let his record and achievements do the talking.”
Earlier today, PKR’s Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim urged the party to defend Anwar as its leader and prime ministerial candidate in the 15th general election.
Hassan said just because Anwar has failed in his bid to become the prime minister several times since two decades ago, this does not make him a liability to PKR.
When asked on PKR’s plan ahead of GE15 in terms of seat allocation, Saifuddin said the party will contest at all seats it has previously won.
At the same time, the former cabinet minister said PKR would also contest at several new seats that the party believes it has a good chance at.
“Aside from the seats that we currently hold, PKR is also looking into contesting at other seats that we feel we may have a chance of winning.
“This would include seats where we lost to our opponents with a very slim majority. But of course, all of the decisions on seat allocation depends on our discussion with our friends in Pakatan Harapan.”
For the record, in GE14, PKR won 48 parliamentary seats and 73 state seats.
On a separate matter, Saifuddin who is part of the parliamentary special select committee in charge of the anti-party hopping law said both the government and opposition have expressed agreement on the Act’s final draft.
He said although PH did not get everything it was seeking for in the new bill, the opposition pact decided to accept the final draft after many deliberations on the matter.
“The process is too long. We took examples from countries such as the US, India, the UK and other commonwealth countries. We shared all of our findings with the law ministry.
“Although we (PH) didn’t get everything we wanted, we feel that this is a good beginning to implement the anti-party hopping law.”
Recently, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the cabinet has approved the draft of the bill, which is scheduled to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.