Month: April 2014

[ ARTICLE ] Azmin clear favourite in PKR polls

By Joceline Tan


There are clear signs showing that Azmin Ali is surging ahead of his rivals in the race for the PKR deputy president post.

THE husband-and-wife drama over the PKR presidency has finally ended. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has pulled out of the contest for Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah to go on for a record fifth term.

The real winner is, of course, Anwar. He can continue as the ketua umum (general leader), a post that has no specified responsibilities yet carries unlimited powers. That’s the way he likes it.

The latest development is being read as an indication that Datuk Saifuddin Nasution, the “horse” that Anwar was said to be backing in the race for the deputy president post, is not going to make it to the finishing line.

Anwar can smell where the wind is blowing and the fact that his wife is holding on to the reins says it all.

The insider account is that Dr Wan Azizah is ready to retire in favour of Anwar. However, whoever becomes the No. 2 would have to take over as president if Anwar is convicted in his sodomy case.

Dr Wan Azizah does not mind Saifuddin being up there, but she cannot accept Azmin Ali. That was why Saifuddin is in the race.

However, what she wants is quite different from what her party members want.

With just three more days before the voting starts, the signs are that Azmin has a clear edge over both Saifuddin and Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

A massive crowd greeted Azmin at the Kota Kinabalu airport when he arrived to campaign in Sabah last weekend. His supporters have been WhatsApping pictures of the surging crowd as proof of his support in this important state.

Local warlord Datuk Lajim Ukim, said to be aligned to Dr Wan Azizah, hosted an event for Azmin. Then again, Lajim was also present at Khalid’s campaign gathering.

Sabah and Selangor are the two biggest states for the party.

The understanding is that whoever carries these two states will win the No. 2 post.

Selangor is Azmin’s fortress and no one doubts his command of the ground. His tentacles are everywhere even though Khalid heads the state government.

Khalid is a popular Mentri Besar but popularity among the people does not always equate with popularity in the party.

“As the MB, Khalid has done well. But if you talk about the reformasi struggle, it is Azmin who has been there from day one,” said a senior PKR politician from Terengganu.

Khalid, who only joined the party in 2006, has been well received in many states. He obviously has deep pockets because a number of his campaign gatherings have involved lunches and dinners in hotels and restaurants.

But there have also been campaign stops at the humble warung and mamak stalls.

However, the attacks from his own Pakatan Rakyat representatives at the recent Selangor legislative assembly affected his image and the on-going water rationing is not helping him.

Azmin has worked hard to get to where he is today and his supporters think it is unfair that he is being denied what he deserves. But that is life – one does not always get what one deserves.

Azmin had initially thought Saifuddin would be the one to beat because the latter had managed to get Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar to join his team.

Rafizi is the party’s strategy director, while Nurul Izzah is vying for a second term as vice-president.

However, Nurul Izzah seems to be distancing herself from the team. She has been moving about on her own and even turned up for an event with Khalid.

“I told her to be independent of any group because she can win on her own name. She does not need Saifuddin, they will drag her down,” said the Terengganu politician.

A pro-Pakatan online portal had trumpeted that “Saifuddin is front-runner in bid to dislodge Azmin”. However, Saifuddin is lacking that special spark and has not been successful in igniting interest in his candidature.

There is a sad-looking photo circulating in social media showing Saifuddin and Rafizi seated in a near empty community hall during a campaign stop in Batang Kali, Selangor.

Another photo shows them waiting outside another community hall for a crowd that did not show up.

While Nurul Izzah is a stand-alone brand name, the same cannot be said of Rafizi. Younger members will vote for him but the senior ones are still upset about his role in the failed Kajang Move.

They think this is what happens “when you make strategies inside an air-con room”.

Moreover, as the Terengganu politician pointed out, Pakatan lost three key seats – Kemaman (where Rafizi is the division chief), Kulim Bandar Baru (contested by Saifuddin in 2013) and Machang (Saifuddin’s seat in 2008).

“Don’t talk about being the third force, you cannot even ensure that we win these seats,” said the Terengganu politician.

At the launch of his campaign last week, Azmin invited Lunas assemblyman Azman Nasaruddin to deliver the opening remarks.

Cikgu Azman, as he is known up north, is vying for the division chief post of Padang Serai, which is the biggest division in Kedah.

Azman spoke very well but his presence on stage was a subtle way of telling Saifuddin, who is from Kedah, that Azmin has support in the northern state.

There has been too much political intrigue coming from Istana Segambut. It is time for Anwar to let the party grassroots decide who they want rather than who he wants.

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.



[ ARTICLE ] Azmin’s got the PKR ideals right

From Malaysiakini
COMMENT Incumbent Azmin Ali’s speech at the official launch of his campaign last week to defend his No. 2 position in PKR’s internal elections laid eloquent claim to the mantle of the party’s inspiration, Anwar Ibrahim.

In its superb overview of the history of the democratic experiment in constitutional governance, Azmin began where such histories ought to – with the Glorious Revolution in England in the 17th century.

A retrospective of the last four centuries of the experiment would support the conclusion that the gains and achievements made by the Glorious Revolution cost little in terms of blood and treasure when compared to the American and French revolutions a century later.

All three revolutions were critical to the evolution of constitutional government but only the Glorious Revolution, in the perspective of last four centuries, stood out as the one to emulate for its relative absence of blood and gore.

The other two – the one, a rebellion against an unrepresentative monarchy, and the other, a revolt against an absolute one – were costly in the blood they spilled.

The ideals that animated the two revolutions, in the one instance, were not extended to an enslaved minority; in the other, was so sweeping in its goals of securing liberty, fraternity and equality that the Jacobin terror that eventuated was said to be a consequence of its utopianism.

The implicit lesson of the latter revolutions was that the more utopian the quest, the bloodier the upshot.

By contrast, the Glorious Revolution, in its implicit recognition of the democratic experiment as the slowest of growths and the rarest of blossoms, advanced the cause of constitutional governance at a pace that took sober note of society’s vast inertia and small margin for change, inhibitions loathed by radicals insistent on change, pronto.

Democratic continuum

By linking and locating the PKR struggle in Malaysia within the democratic continuum extending from the Glorious Revolution to the movements for independence from colonial powers and the struggle for democratic pluralism in several countries in Asia, Azmin stands the party on the shoulders of its glorious antecedents and its famed movers and shakers, the better for the party to see through the dilemmas and challenges of the moment.

From the Islamic tradition, he borrows slimly but solidly – from the religion’s overriding emphasis on justice. He goes no further than that.

Implicit in the restraint is the recognition that the democratic continuum in which an Azmin-defined PKR locates itself, while being respectful of religion, is averse to the theocratic inclination.

Through his effort of tracery and definition of its philosophic antecedents, Azmin has placed PKR in a strong position to formulate its response to its Pakatan Rakyat partner, PAS, which is planning to move a private member’s Bill for the introduction of hudud in Kelantan when Parliament next sits in June.

PAS’ intended move is the biggest threat yet to the ideological coherence of Pakatan Rakyat in whose Common Policy Framework, no mention is made of hudud.

There’s no point in dissuading PAS from doing what it says it intends to at the next parliamentary sitting. As an Islamic party it has no choice but to commend ‘the path to the headwaters’, which is what syariah means. And which is what Muslims are obliged to support.

If PAS were to query PKR – a largely Muslim though not theocratic party – about its stance, the party can do no better than flaunt Azmin’s speech at the launch, on April 16, of what he called ‘Keadilan Raya’, the slogan that has come to stand for his and his supporters’ definition of the party’s ideological underpinnings.

Having said that, and after noting that Azmin has got PKR’s ideological moorings right – make that substantively and elegantly right – the question arises: Has he the moral mettle to live up to the party’s ideals?

Getting the ideals right is one thing, living up to them is another.

Only the party’s eminence grise Anwar Ibrahim (right) will know for sure because he has known Azmin from the time the latter enlisted in his coterie of aides some three decades back to the present time.

And he’s not telling – he can’t because he has to stay neutral in this contest, ostensibly.

Almost alone among his original coterie of aides, Azmin has stayed loyal to Anwar, a remarkably durable feat of fealty compared to the others whose repudiations of their former mentor describe the range from mild disappointment to outrageous heresy.

How then is a PKR elector to decide in this election?

Likely, he/she will choose on the basis of what he/she knows is true. And that would be the only way to go, given that the topmost leader can offer no explicit guidance.

Call that the PKR dilemma.

[TEKS UCAPAN] Pelancaran Gagasan Keadilan Raya



16 APRIL 2014

Majlis Pimpinan Pusat,

Pimpinan Cabang, Angkatan Muda dan Wanita

Aktivis reformasi dan para pejuang KEADILAN.

1.      Saya menyambut kedatangan saudara – saudari sekalian, para pejuang tegar KEADILAN, dengan serangkap pantun:

Pucuk pauh delima batu,
Anak sembilang di tapak tangan,
Datangnya jauh beribu batu,
Terus berjuang mara ke hadapan.

2.      Beberapa hari lalu kita menyambut ulangtahun ke – 15 Parti Keadilan Rakyat. Pada 4 April 1999, kita cuba membina sebuah harapan baru untuk rakyat Malaysia.

3.      Parti keramat ini dibina atas keringat rakyat yang bangkit untuk melawan kebobrokan UMNO dan sistem yang menginjak – injak maruah bangsa. Ranjau dan cabaran yang kita lalui telah mematangkan kita sebagai satu wadah yang gagah dan berani. Perjuangan kita adalah moral crusade.

4.      Kita telah menyertai empat Pilihan Raya Umum dan puluhan Pilihan Raya Kecil. Kita pernah menang, kita pernah tewas.

5.      Tatkala parti mengalami zaman suram, pasca PRU 11 pada tahun 2004, ada pemimpin yang meninggalkan kita dan ada juga yang mengalami political fatiguedan berehat. Namun pejuang KEADILAN yang tegar tidak akan berundur. Saudara – saudari lah pejuang KEADILAN yang istiqamah dan tidak pernah berehat.

Kita bangkit dengan tekad baru untuk terus melawan cengkaman penjajahan baru.

6.      Kita berjaya membentuk Kerajaan Negeri selama dua penggal. Dua penggal kita menafikan majoriti 2/3 Barisan Nasional (BN) di Dewan Rakyat dan dalam PRU 13, buat julung kalinya kita bersama Pakatan Rakyat meraih 52% undi popular dan memaksa Barisan Nasional (BN) membentuk Kerajaan Minoriti.

7.      Jika dahulu kita melaungkan reformasi ketika berdemonstrasi di luar Parlimen, sekarang kita membawa dan menegaskan agenda reformasi di dalam Parlimen.

8.      Dalam konteks global, sudah 15 tahun warga KEADILAN gah dipersada parti – parti politik dunia. Kita berakar di bumi Malaysia, tetapi minda politik kita perlu menjangkau cabaran politik global.

Kita memperjuangkan keadilan untuk semua rakyat Malaysia, ketika yang sama kita juga memperjuangkan keadilan sejagat.

9.      Umur 15 tahun, tentunya amat muda berbanding dengan sejarah perjuangan kemanusiaan. Justeru itu, kita perlu menghimbau sejarah perjuangan parti politik kerana kita melihat diri kita sebagai pewaris kepada perjuangan demokrasi dan kemanusiaan global.

10.   Parti – parti politik muncul seiring dengan kemunculan demokrasi sebagai sistem politik yang berteraskan suara rakyat untuk menentang tirani dan monopoli kekuasaan elit feudal. Ahli sejarah melihat The Glorious Revolution, satu revolusi tanpa pertumpahan darah yang berlaku di England dalam tahun 1688, sebagai titik bermulanya sistem politik Raja Berperlembagaan dan Demokrasi Berparlimen.

11.   Manusia mencari sistem politik agar kekuasaan tidak dimonopoli oleh kelas tertentu yang memiliki tanah dan menguasai kekayaan. Hakikatnya, bakat kepimpinan juga terdapat dari golongan murba, marhaen dan proletar.

12.   Demokrasi yang terbuka, telus, dan tidak dirosakkan oleh wang, harta,  pangkat, kedudukan dan gelaran akan menjadi wahana kepada kemunculan bakat dari segenap lapisan umat. Ia menjamin kesaksamaan bagi setiap bakat untuk berpartisipasi dalam sistem demokrasi.

13.   Meskipun Glorious Revolution, atau Revolusi Gemilang, satu sejarah kemanusiaan yang mempengaruhi dunia, namun rakyat England di abad ke 17 tidak berpuas hati dengan pencapaian tersebut.  Ini kerana, England beralih kepada pemerintahan aristokrasi yang didominasi golongan bangsawan dan pemilik tanah.

14.   Aristokrat menafi perwakilan yang adil ke Parlimen. Wujud kawasan Parlimen yang hanya punyai tujuh orang pengundi tetapi mempunyai dua orang wakil diHouse of Common. Lebih seratus tahun rakyat, England berjuang untuk sistem perwakilan yang adil di Parlimen. Hanya setelah beberapa Rang Undang – Undang yang dikenali dengan The Reform Bills 1832, 1867 dan 1884 diluluskan, maka pemerintahan rakyat atau demokrasi berperwakilan menjadi kenyataan.

15.   Keadilan dalam persempadanan pilihan raya adalah bagian dari demokrasi yang akan kita perjuangkan. Ini amat penting, kerana  jika sempadan pilihan raya dalam PRU 13 adil dan demokratik, Pakatan Rakyat sudahpun berada di Putrajaya. Majoriti rakyat Malaysia memilih Pakatan Rakyat yang dipimpin oleh Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, tokoh Demokrat Muslim yang diiktiraf oleh masyarakat dunia.

16.   Dari sejarah ini, kita perlu belajar bahawa demokrasi bukanlah satu anugerah. Demokrasi adalah hak rakyat. Sempadan ruang demokrasi bukan ditentukan oleh pemerintah. Demokrasi hanya akan diperolehi melalui perjuangan rakyat.

17.   Sekiranya pemerintah berpegang teguh kepada Pemashyuran Kemerdekaan 1957 yang menjanjikan suatu bangsa yang merdeka dan berdaulat; berteraskan kebebasan dan keadilan untuk sekalian rakyat; saya yakin badan kehakiman di negara ini akan menjamin keadilan untuk Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim dan beliau tidak akan berdepan dengan pendakwaan dan hukuman atas amalan undang – undang rimba oleh pemerintah yang pengecut.

18.   Sekiranya ada prinsip keadilan dan amalan demokrasi; pastinya saya tidak dihalau keluar dari Parlimen semata – mata kerana membawa usul untuk membicarakan kelakuan hakim – hakim yang dikeramatkan oleh Perkara 127 Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan Perkara 36(8) Peraturan Mesyuarat Dewan Rakyat.

19.   Sekiranya ada ruh keadilan dalam pengurusan ekonomi, saya pasti Rang Undang Undang GST yang memindah beban cukai dari kroni kepada rakyat biasa tidak akan diluluskan. Apa ertinya slogan rakyat didahulukan apabila syarikat – syarikat gergasi kroni seperti CIMB, Maybank dan RHB Bank mendapat pelepasan cukai pendapatan korporat di Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) bernilai RM 3.1 bilion sedangkan petani miskin, buruh kasar, pemandu teksi dan penjawat awam rendah dibebankan dengan cukai GST.

20.   Berbeda dengan kebijakan ketika Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim ketika menjadi Menteri Kewangan, beliau telah melakukan reformasi percukaian yang menyeluruh termasuk menaikkan threshold cukai pendapatan dan membebaskan puluhan ribu rakyat dari beban cukai.

21.   Abad ke – 18, yang dikenali sebagai abad Pencerahan, kemajuan demokrasi dipimpin oleh Amerika. Meskipun tidak ada parti politik di zaman pentadbiran Presiden pertama, George Washington, namun wujud dua bibit yang kemudiannya menjadi parti politik.

22.   Yang pertama, diketuai oleh Setiausaha Perbendaharaan, Alexander Hamilton yang mahukan pemusatan kuasa di Washington dan mahukan dasar-dasar kerajaan menyokong golongan industri dan bank. Kumpulan kedua diketuai oleh Setiausaha Negara, Thomas Jefferson, penulis perisyhtiharan kemerdekaan dan kemudiannya menjadi Presiden Amerika Syarikat yang ke 3.

23.   Jefferson menubuhkan Parti Republikan untuk memperjuangkan kepentingan ekonomi warga tani yang ditentang oleh golongan industri dan kewangan yang diterajui oleh Alexander Hamilton.

24.   Sementara itu, Revolusi industri yang berkembang rancak di Eropah di abad ke – 19 turut membawa pelbagai masalah sosial termasuk penindasan terhadap golongan buruh. Maka, muncul lah perjuangan menuntut hak dan kebajikan pekerja.

25.   Negara Jerman yang pesat kemajuan industri turut melahirkan pergerakan buruh yang paling progresif,  langsung melahirkan German Social Democratic Partypada tahun 1869. Parti politik itu menerbitkan manifesto ‘Program Gotha’ yang memperjuangkan hak mengundi semua rakyat, universal suffrage, kebebasan berpersatuan, membataskan hari bekerja dan penjagaan kesihatan pekerja.

26.   Abad ke – 19 menyaksikan imperialisme besar – besaran Inggeris, Perancis, Belanda dan Jerman. Maka berlakulah l’exploitation de l’homme par l’homme,eksploitasi oleh manusia ke atas manusia.

27.   Eksploitasi ini mencetuskan gerakan nasionalisme yang disebut oleh penulis Lothorp Stoddard sebagai The Rising Tide of Colour. Buku ini begitu mempengaruhi Soekarno sehingga diterjemahkan ke bahasa Melayu dengan tajuk ‘Pasang Naik Kulit Berwarna’.

28.   Negara jajahan British yang terbesar iaitu India menjadi pemimpin kepada gerakan kebangkitan rakyat Asia dan Afrika menentang imperialisme. Parti Kongres India yang ditubuhkan dalam tahun 1885 menjadi wahana perjuangan Gandhi, Nehru dan Chandra Subha Bose bagi menggembleng kekuatan rakyat melawan penjajahan untuk memperolehi kemerdekaan dan membangun India merdeka.

29.   Parti Muslim League yang ditubuhkan oleh penyair – filasuf Muhammad Iqbal menjadi kekuatan politik untuk kebebasan umat Islam di benua kecil India di bawah kepimpinan Muhammad Ali Jinnah masih terpahat dalam sejarah perjuangan.

30.   Sejarah perjuangan kemerdekaan nusantara juga memperlihatkan kebangkitan nasionalisme rakyat mempertahankan kedaulatan tanahair mereka. Di Indonesia, Soekarno memimpin massa menuntut kemerdekaan dan mengusir penjajah Belanda yang rakus mengaut kekayaan ekonomi tanahair mereka.

31.   Lantas Soekarno memulangkan kedaulatan negara dan mengangkat martabat rakyat, katanya : “Negara Republik Indonesia ini milik kita semua, dari Sabang sampai Marauke”.

32.   Karya penulisan tokoh – tokoh kemerdekaan Indonesia bukan sahaja menyalakan semangat nasionalisme di Indonesia, tetapi juga membakar semangat rakyat Malaya. Rakyat segera bersatu dalam persatuan – persatuan dan parti – parti politik sebagai wahana perjuangan mereka. Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) merupakan parti politik pertama yang melaungkan slogan ‘Merdeka’ yang kemudiannya disahut sekian pelusuk rakyat Malaya sebagai slogan tuntutan kemerdekaan.

33.   Kita menoleh sejarah perjuangan demokrasi dan parti – parti politik di Eropah, Amerika, Asia dan Afrika kerana kita perlu belajar dari kecekalan, kegigihan, kesabaran dan kesetiaan mereka terhadap perjuangan rakyat dan kemanusiaan untuk melawan tirani dan menegakkan keadilan.

34.   Manusia bukan sahaja perlu dibebaskan dari cengkaman sang penguasa, bahkan manusia perlu dibebaskan dari kejahilan, khurafat, fanatisme dan pemikiran sempit.

35.   Seperti yang diungkapkan oleh The Great Malayan, the pride of the Malay race, Jose Rizal, “…selagi akal masih terkongkong, selagi kepercayaan ingin menundukkan fakta, selagi nafsu dijadikan raja dan selagi ada bangsa memijak bangsa yang lain”.

36.   Jika kita menelusuri sejarah parti – parti politik yang berjaya memperjuangkan pembebasan, kita akan mendapati mereka juga mewacanakan Pencerahan di kalangan rakyat.

37.   Sejarah perjuangan demokrasi ini memberikan ilham dan rangsangan. KEADILAN berada pada kedudukan yang sangat strategik sebagai the vital centredalam muafakat Pakatan Rakyat.

38.   Justeru itu, KEADILAN perlu kuat dan mantap, perlu kepada ideologi yang jelas, mempunyai tapak yang luas lagi inklusif. Kita bertanggungjawab untuk memperkukuh KEADILAN sebagai langkah untuk memperkasa muafakat politik dalam Pakatan Rakyat untuk menjana kemenangan dalam PRU 14.

39.   Sebuah parti politik perlu mempunyai ideologi. Tanpa ideologi, parti akan terumbang ambing dalam arus masa dan akan karam dalam budaya politik Machiavelli, melakukan apa sahaja untuk mendapat kemenangan, the end justifies the mean, matlamat menghalalkan cara. Apa yang saya maksudkan sebagai ideologi adalah satu gagasan menyeluruh, a comprehensive vision.

40.   Sahabat – sahabat seperjuangan, mari kita menghayati firman Allah SWT:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

41.   Allah S.W.T berfirman : “Wahai orang – orang yang beriman, hendaklah kamu semua sentiasa menjadi orang – orang yang menegakkan keadilan kerana Allah, lagi menerangkan kebenaran; dan jangan sekali – kali kebencian kamu terhadap sesuatu kaum itu mendorong kamu kepada tidak melakukan keadilan. Hendaklah kamu berlaku adil (kepada sesiapa jua) kerana sikap adil itu lebih hampir kepada taqwa. Dan bertaqwalah kepada Allah, sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui dengan mendalam akan apa yang kamu lakukan.” ( Al Maidah : 8 )

42.   Dari tamadun Cina, kita mendengar pertanyaan seorang murid kepada gurunya, Kung Fu Tze. Sang murid bertanya : “Bagaimana seorang yang berakhlak itu menilai keberanian ?”. Kung Fu Tze menjawab : “Orang berakhlak lebih memberi keutamaan kepada keadilan. Orang berakhlak yang berani tanpa keadilan menjadi pemberontak, orang kecil yang berani tanpa keadilan akan menjadi penyamun”.

43.   Masyarakat nusantara kagum dengan epik India yang bernama Mahabrata. Epik besar ini mengisahkan perang antara Pandawa dan Kurawa. Para Pandawa berperang bukan sekadar untuk merebut takhta Hastinapura tetapi untuk menegakkan semula dharma atau keadilan yang dihancurkan oleh pihak Kurawa. Arjuna, panglima Pandawa tidak sanggup membunuh sepupu dan guru – gurunya di pihak Kurawa. Namun demi menegakkan keadilan dan mengembalikan semula dharma, beliau sanggup mengangkat busur panahnya yang jatuh.

44.   Keadilan adalah nilai sejagat. Keadilan adalah nilai nombor wahid umat Islam, nilai utama masyarakat Asia, Eropah, Afrika. Orang Melayu mahukan keadilan, orang Cina mahukan keadilan, orang India mahukan keadilan, teman – teman masyarakat Iban, Kadazan, Dusun dan Orang Ulu mahukan keadilan. Siapakah rakyat Malaysia yang begitu rosak moralnya hingga mahu ditindas dan dizalimi ?

45.   Prinsip keadilan itu, begitu penting maka kita perlu mengangkatnya sebagai kerangka dan haluan besar wadah perjuangan. Kerana itulah, kita mahu menjadikan Keadilan Raya sebagai ideologi parti ini.

46.   Selepas perang dunia ke 2, nasionalisme menjadi ideologi parti – parti politik yang memperjuangkan kemerdekaan. Selepas kemerdekaan, pembangunan menjadi ideologi parti pemerintah kononnya untuk memaknai kemerdekaan yang dicapai.

47.   Tetapi pembangunan tersebut tidak dipandu oleh nilai keadilan. Maka, pembangunan itu tempang seperti disebutkan oleh penyair Oliver Goldsmith :

Ill fares the land,

where wealth accumulate,

and men decay.

Celakalah negeri itu,

bila hartanya naik menggunung,

tetapi kemanusiaannya runtuh.

48.   Hasrat melontarkan Gagasan Keadilan Raya adalah suatu ikhtiar mempertegaskan kembali iltizam kita terhadap perlaksanaan keadilan, kesaksamaan tanpa mengira sempadan kaum, agama dan wilayah. Kita memerlukan nafas segar untuk membetulkan kembali hala tuju negara yang menyimpang.

49.   Kita berdepan regim yang menafikan kebajikan rakyat terbanyak, tidak toleran dan tidak demokratik. Suara rakyat dibungkam. Tatkala golongan pelampau, fasis kaum dan agama, menggasak ruang awam dengan sosok ekstrim, pemerintah mengambil sikap masa bodoh dan membisu.

50.   Perkataan ‘Raya’ berasal dari perkataan Sanskrit yang membawa maksud, antaranya, besar, megah, hala tuju, merangkul kesemua (inklusif) dan ketegasan. Maka tidak menghairankan, para pejuang kemerdekaan nusantara seperti Ibrahim Yaacob, Burhanudin al Helmy, Gandhi, Okakura Tenshin, Rabindranath Tagore dan Soekarno berkobar – kobar tatkala membicarakan Gagasan Melayu Raya, Indonesia Raya dan Asia Raya.

51.   Ia bukan sahaja menjadi slogan akan tetapi suatu ideologi politik, untuk menyatu padukan seluruh rakyat yang bangkit menentang penjajahan.

52.   ‘Imagined Community’ atau masyarakat yang diimpikan oleh para pejuang kemerdekaan Asia adalah sebuah masyarakat yang adil dan saksama. Makanya, Keadilan Raya juga adalah kesinambungan atas cita-cita tersebut. Memastikan setiap rakyat Malaysia, samada orang Melayu, Cina, India, Iban, Kadazan menikmati kemakmuran negara yang kita cintai ini, seperti ungkapan Abraham Lincoln : “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

53.   Seiring dengan tuntutan dan cabaran semasa, Keadilan Raya sewajarnya diikat kepada faham perlaksanaan keadilan, kesaksamaan dan pembangunan sebuah masyarakat madani yang demokratik. Kerana itu, amatlah mustahak Gagasan Keadilan Raya ini bertunjangkan keadilan sebagai kesaksamaan, sebagaimana diungkapkan oleh John Rawls, “Justice as Fairness.”

54.   Perlaksanaan keadilan adalah asas kepada kerangka besar kenegaraan. Justeru, tiga prinsip panduan kepada perlaksanaan keadilan tidak boleh sama sekali diabaikan.

55.   Pertama : Seluruh rakyat Malaysia dilindungi hak asasi sebagaimana yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan setiap warganegara adalah samarata dan tiada sesiapapun adalah warga kelas kedua. Keadilan Raya mempertahankan kebebasan beragama, kebebasan berfikir dan kebebasan berkarya.

56.   Kedua : Seluruh rakyat Malaysia berhak ke atas kesaksamaan peluang, fair equality of opportunity, berhak untuk menikmati peluang pendidikan serta peluang ekonomi walau apapun latar belakang mereka. Konsep pembangunan yang dibawa oleh Keadilan Raya adalah memacu pertumbuhan ekonomi dengan menjamin prinsip pengagihan yang adil atau distributive justice.

57.   Ketiga : Pembentukan Malaysia menjanjikan Sabah dan Sarawak sebagai rakan kongsi Persekutuan Malaysia yang setara berasaskan prinsip perlembagaan bagi menjamin pengagihan kuasa dan ekonomi yang saksama, adil serta membebaskan rakyat dari penjajahan minda dan jiwa demi mengangkat harga diri rakyat Malaysia.

58.   Justeru, melalui Keadilan Raya, KEADILAN dan Pakatan Rakyat komited untuk mengembalikan autonomi kepada Sabah dan Sarawak sejajar dan dalam kerangka Perjanjian Persekutuan dan Perlembagaan negara.

59.   Usaha kita untuk menggagaskan Keadilan Raya bermula sejak KEADILAN ditubuhkan. Ia adalah suatu penegasan semula kepada ideologi KEADILAN dan semangat perjuangan reformasi sebagaimana yang tertuang dalam Deklarasi Permatang Pauh.

60.   Pada hari ini kita perlu mengungkapkan falsafah Keadilan – Keadilan Raya dengan lebih menyeluruh dan pelbagai dimensi.  Melalui perjuangan demokrasi, pelbagai ketidakbebasan tersebut telah berjaya dihapuskan.

61. Gagasan besar yang ingin kita bawa memerlukan satu wadah yang gagah dan unggul. Ini adalah semangat zaman. Untuk menggalasnya, kita perlu memperkukuh perpaduan. Kita meraikan demokrasi dan kepelbagaian. Namun, tanpa kepimpinan, perpaduan dan kesetiaan, demokrasi akan menjadi huru hara dan haru biru.

62.   Justeru itu, kita perlu mengelakkan factionalism, alliance atau gabungan yang akan menyebabkan parti yang kita sayangi hancur berantakan. Bagi saya, seluruh anggota parti adalah pasukan saya di bawah naungan kepimpinan Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Kenapa kita perlu mencipta third force ? What we need is just one force. Only one ! That is the force of KEADILAN.

63.   Sebagai Timbalan Presiden, saya telah menjelajah ke Ba’ Kelalan, Sarawak, ke Melalap di Tenom merentasi Banjaran Kroker, Sabah. Saya bertentang mata dengan orang Iban di Rumah Panjang Nanga Budu, Saratok; orang Kadazan di Kampung Pilantong, Lanok, Beluran. Saya memasuki kampung, estet dan kampung  baru untuk menyelami hati nurani orang Melayu, India dan Cina. Saya ingin tegaskan sekali lagi bahawa KEADILAN bukan parti Melayu. KEADILAN adalah parti seluruh anak Malaysia.

64.   Kita tidak melihat warna kulit atau keturunan, tetapi melihat hati nurani dan moral manusia seperti impian Martin Luther King : “…where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Akhir sekali rakan – rakan sekalian,

65.   Perjuangan bukan lah permainan. Seorang pemimpin UMNO pernah berkata : “Dalam politik tidak ada kawan yang kekal dan tidak ada musuh yang kekal.”  Ini adalah falsafah politik yang sifar nilai dan durjana.

66.   KEADILAN dibentuk untuk menolak politik lama yang jelek. Kita membawa politik baru yang berteras nilai – nilai murni sejagat. Justeru itu, perlu ada kesetiaan kepada parti sebagai wadah perjuangan. Maka, saudara – saudari sebagai pejuang KEADILAN yang tegar perlu bertekad untuk menjayakan demokrasi. Pilihlah kepimpinan yang tegas, teruji, wibawa dan setia.

67.   Dengan semangat Keadilan Raya:

Mari kita gilap semangat dan idealisme perjuangan; rakyat menanti pembelaan dari kita;

Dari latar belakang kaum, kelas dan profesyen yang berbeda, mari kita jalin semangat setiakawan, dan kita bina parti ini dengan kekuatan yang satu, menjadikannya sebagai “bunyanul marsus“, satu bangunan yang kukuh tersusun;

Mari kita jayakan etika dan tata kelola organisasi; melaksanakan ta’dib siyasi, pendidikan politik, agar KEADILAN menjadi sebuah parti yang berdisiplin, cekap dan efisien;

Are you ready?

68.   Maka kita akan bergerak sebagai satu parti, satu kekuatan untuk melaksanakan Keadilan Raya.

[ ARTICLE ] Azmin Ali or Khalid Ibrahim – Concluding Part.

As promised, here is the second article on the contest between Azmin and Khalid. I will write in street style.

True or not? For a person like Khalid Ibrahim to do what he can do as a business savvy person, political power must be won and consolidated. If PR loses Selangor, then Khalid or a person of Khalid’s calibre has no place to apply his skills.

Therefore what is needed more is a political leader. Now that PR has won Selangor, it needs a leader schooled in politics above all. Since PKR’s man is the MB its leader must be a political man.

Many people out there find it objectionable if Azmin were to continue to be deputy president and maybe later as MB. This seems to be the sole reason behind the stop Azmin movement. Azmin must not win- otherwise he will demand to become MB. Of course if Azmin wins, people should expect him to ask to become MB.

So they come out with the disingenuous argument- Wan Azizah is the president and therefore should take precedence as MB.  It seems to me that people already expect Azmin to be the next MB should he defeat Khalid. So the circumventing argument is put forward. If there is a person superseding Azmin in rank, that person should take precedence.

Meaning even if Azmin were to win, he cannot become MB as he is only deputy president.

This argument is put forward only when Azmin is involved. Look- if this man deserves to become MB of Selangor, then he must be supported. He is the head of Selangor PKR already. Not giving his due place in the state administration is already an abuse of reasonableness and propriety. I am surprised than Anwar hasn’t corrected this anomaly. A party that does not observe discipline will crumble.

This argument forgets that even though there is a person outranking Khalid in party hierarchy, people find it not odd to have Khalid as MB and Wan Aizah as ADUN or later exco. This is clearly wrong. The person higher in rank should be the boss. Wan Azizah should become MB after this party election.

If people insist on having pre-election status quo, i.e. letting someone lower in rank to become MB, then no one should find it objectionable to accept Azmin as MB if he wins the deputy president’s post. People should be consistent in their conduct and behaviour. Why is it not odd for someone lower in party rank to be MB but it becomes odd only when that someone lower in rank is Azmin?

This means, the choice for deputy president has nothing to do with the candidate’s credential. It has more to do with personal preference and personal comfort.

So what do people have against Azmin? Reading the comments I got so far, PKR and the pubic have reservations about Azmin.  They insist he has UMNO DNA. This is unfair I think- Azmin has proven his PKR credentials and his loyalty above all. As far as I remember, Azmin did not hold any posts in UMNO nor did he contest for any posts. His link with UMNO was his service with an UMNO leader and that leader happens to be Anwar Ibrahim.

Khalid Ibrahim has more UMNO DNA. He contested for a post in an UMNO branch in Kuala Selangor and lost. He was then appointed to be in the Biro ekonomi UMNO. Saifudin Nasution too was an active UMNO member. If I am not mistaken Saifudin even served as executive secretary for Pemuda UMNO. He has also served as political secretary to Syed Hamid Albar. His links with UMNO is even stronger. His brother, Sahlan Nasution was the political secretary to PM Najib. Sahlan contested in the last general elections and lost. He now serves as PM Najib’s special officer or something.

The second objection is the belief that if Azmin were to become MB, he will practise cronyism and nepotism and will fritter away the cash reserves. This is an unwinnable objection as it is indefensible because the wrongs mentioned have not taken place. We have already prejudged Azmin.

Unless PKR members know that Azmin has a bad record in this aspect or Azmin has shown he has already done these things before, then they are entitled to that judgment. If they don’t, then it is all prejudice.

This is what we need at the moment. A political leader above all. We have regretted the day we put in business centric persons in political positions. We had Dr Mahathir for instance. He is a businessman first and foremost. Read what Rais Yatim had to say about Mahathir before Mahathir took Rais Yatim in of course. Rais Yatim went on to become the greatest bootlicker since our independence.

Mahathir, he said, would spend a great deal of time during his overseas trips closing business deals. We all cheered Mahathir on because we thought he was doing a great service to the nation. Lee Kuan Yew would have approved of this explicit application of entrepreneurship on the political stage. He forgets that Singapore could turn out triumphant because he was there and the quality of people in white on his team was different.

But something must have gone wrong in Malaysia because we didn’t turn out to be the economic miracle thought possible as a result of the application of entrepreneurship on politics. Malaysia has oil but didn’t turn out to become the world’s refinery. We had rubber and other raw materials, but didn’t turn out world number one. We didn’t develop our manufacturing sector to compete with the best.

So, I can’t buy the argument we need to have businessmen at the head of politics for change to do well. Daim was a businessman. He made deals for himself first and the country second. Put any businessman in political positions, he will think of his business.

The mistake by many people is to assume and to then believe that business skills will be put to good application once in political power. History has proven again and again, the skills were indeed put to good application- to entrench private business interests.

The most business-minded person to get into power was Dr Mahathir. He began with all the good intentions and good moves. As he grew more powerful, demolished detractors around him, the feeling of invincibility dulled the idealism which brought him into power. Every decision he made afterwards was underscored with business objectives. So, I am not going to place too high a premium on Khalid’s seemingly good business sense.

He has already begun some questionable moves. What kind of deal did Khalid alone conclude over the water supply in Selangor? Remember – Mahathir did the same thing. It was he alone who decided what was good or otherwise for the country.

We don’t know. This follows after Khalid’s own miraculous resolve of his personal loan with a bank. The bank got a judgement against him and the bank was willing to close the matter by agreeing to a huge haircut.

Most recently, he has entered into a deal selling of over 400 acres of land to Tropicana – already the preferred business partner of Barisan Nasional. The deal may be good as Khalid explained- but was the deal done through open market operations or was the proposal from Tropicana the only one considered and accepted?

We see that hidden forces are working hard to emasculate Khalid Ibrahim, soften him and others up, so that UMNO can stage a coup? Suddenly UMNO is supporting Khalid and MCA is hailing Khalid as the best. Are they afraid of Azmin replacing Khalid? With Azmin in a stronger position, all the behind the scene machinations and intrigues will be shattered? Remember what happened in Perak the last time. Or in a Kedah style indirect coup by allowing a weak leader governed the state?

Without political power over Selangor, Khalid Ibrahim is nothing. I said a person like Khalid- and that reveals what I think about the whole business of making out of business prowess as the trump card for election- is overrated. Khalid Ibrahim isn’t the only person who can achieve what he has achieved. He has been able to do that because PR has the political power. If he doesn’t have political power, what could he have done? Maybe trade privately over the counter and play with his stocks in Guthrie and elsewhere?

I want Azmin Ali to win because I want PKR to have a strong political leader. Before anyone rushes to some ill-judged conclusions, let me state that I know Azmin only a little.  I told a close PKR colleague that I am writing these articles purely based on observations of Azmin in parliament. Allow me to declare, I have no interests in an Azmin victory.

Now, political power is entrenched and secured with the correct political leadership. This is where Azmin’s leadership is needed. If I may say bluntly, PKR is not all about Anwar. If he goes in, and there is every indication that the federal court will uphold the conviction by the appeals court, Wan Azizah will lead PKR. You may argue that Wan Azizah is qualified to lead PKR, but she needs the support of a politically experienced deputy. The deputy will likely run the party on the day to day basis.

I am not buying the argument that only Khalid Ibrahim can run Selangor into what it is now. During the years that Anwar was finance minister, Azmin was also there. He is smart enough to manage a state. As it is, I sense, the only reason why people are against Azmin becoming the deputy president is their personal dislike or disapproval of him. Now, that is personal in nature and should not be used as reason, to not acknowledge him as a good political leader.

I read one comment in my earlier article- which says it is good to have a crook to deal with the UMNO crooks. How do you come to the conclusion that Azmin is a crook? If one comes to that inclusion, then by extension, Anwar is a bigger crook and yet we have no strong objections in accepting Anwar as a leader.


[ ARTICLE ] Azmin Ali or Khalid Ibrahim ?

I am writing this article purely from the point of a political observer. This is how I look at the contest as a keen observer. This is not a DAP official stand on the leadership issues in PKR. PKR is a member of Pakatan Rakyat and an important ally just like PAS is. The DAP leadership has its views on PKR leadership. Their main interest is to see PKR remain strong to be on the same side to displace BN and UMNO.

I shall write in the most general terms hoping the message here is understood. It is hard to write on or against colleagues. There will be a second follow-up article to state the issues clearer. That will be for the benefit of people who prefer brutal candour as opposed to less robust reasoning.

If I were to have a wish list, the top question is, what kind of leadership do I want for PKR? My answer will be: since PKR is a political party not a corporate entity, or a management-centric organisation, I will want a political leader.

The aim of politics is basically that of organising efforts, material and resources to obtain political objectives of securing and retaining political power. The other overriding objective is to have a leadership with the resolve, dedication and discipline to defeat BN. That to me would require a different kind of leadership than one that is required to run a business corporation for instance.

Business leadership may one day find it more profitable to be in mainstream politics and so can decide it is of strategic importance to be in BN. But political leadership sees no profit in linking up with BN because it is driven by different values, namely to stay the course and remain true to its own political objectives.

I have a problem, with the continued promotion of business success as a qualifier for public office. Therefore while Khalid’s achievement in obtaining cash reserves for Selangor for RM3 billion is laudable, that to me isn’t a qualification for him to be a deputy president of PKR. Success in the market is not an automatic disqualifier for public service, but it is a far different undertaking with different purposes and different values.

And to suggest that government needs people experienced in business reminds me of the old feminist saying that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. In fact, business and government — while there may be skills involved that are translatable and useful as one moves from one sphere to another, are in some ways polar opposite undertakings.

The business of business is business and the goal of business is to earn a profit in the provision of goods and services. The business of government is service — well managed, one hopes, and not wasteful, but never at a profit.

As to the money, we must remember there is no such thing as government money. Governments have no money; they have only what they take from their citizens, either in taxes or by inflation and what it gives back in terms of wellbeing of the people. And if government accrues profit it can only have done so by taxing too much or eroding the value of the citizens’ income and savings — in either case doing harm, not good, to the people.

Businesses seek maximum efficiency; governments seek sufficient efficiency. Suppose we desire security of the nation. We can save a considerable amount of money by delegating our national security to mercenary armies drawn from other countries as opposed to keeping a high-cost standing army and paying them wages, thus erasing the need to maintain a perpetual and costly military infrastructure. Zahid Hamidi can always ask the human traffickers to bring in the Ghurkhas from Nepal, serve as our army to achieve maximum efficiency. State governments could close Jabatan Kebajikan offices and require that all transactions with government be conducted electronically, with no recourse to potentially sympathetic human beings. These are choices governments make reluctantly but businesses make routinely.

Politics and Business operate on different ethics. Consider the question of earned merit. In business which is very much a merit-based enterprise, one’s employment is continued so long as he or she maintains sufficient production. The productive ones continue to receive pay checks; non-productive workers are cut loose. That may seem unfair to the bleeding-hearted, but it is productivity that provides profit and insufficient productivity that drains profit and therefore survivability. Distinguish that ethic from the commitment of government to provide a safety net for those who are, quite often due to no fault of their own, non-productive members of society. How do you deal with them?

In business, the non-productive are sacked or have their employment terminated; in government, the non-productive are not treated that way.  That is because the society as a whole, believes single mothers, orphans, the mentally or physically infirm deserve sustenance and protection. Men and women whose careers are in business may also share in the value of compassion, but it flies directly in the face of a belief in maximizing profit and winning bonuses. They may say, it is nothing personal, just business.

So PKR has to decide, what kind of leader do they want? Business or political leader?

To be fair to Khalid, I do not mean by this to suggest that the corporate experience is, or should be, an impediment to elective service. It does mean, however, that candidates for public office should not hold out that expertise in business as a primary qualification for election. Yes, okay, so you’ve run a company and you’ve made money; it’ll look good in your CV. Three cheers, hip hip hooray.

But it is important to spell out how that experience translates into meaningful preparation for service in government. Granted, it may curb the temptation to be profligate, and that’s a definite plus, but government is about helping to ensure that the government’s economic policies are not inimical to others making a profit. It is not about slashing spending but about meeting society’s obligations with efficiency and accountability. For business, forests exist as a source of lumber; for society, forests exist as a source of pleasure.

Business and government are not opposites, but they are distinct; the mind-set is necessarily different; the understandings are different; the obligations are different. Whether you cheer for Khalid Ibrahim and others like him, to win or lose in this coming party election, we should demand of them a downplaying of the business credential and a focus on how they would meet the actual challenges of governance on the specific terms of public, not private, service.

The most keenly watched contest will be for the deputy president’s post. The contest will essentially be between Azmin Ali and Khalid Ibrahim. The withdrawal of Tian Chua is seen as a measure to shore up support for Saifudin Nasution.  This plan may not work.

Votes are not transferable as one would like them to be. Those who were rooting in for Tian Chua who have decided not to support Azmin, may not necessarily vote in Saifudin. Although he is the PKR’s secretary general who has the opportunity to go all over the country and who has the opportunity to cultivate support, members may want to support Azmin. In the end, I think the presence of Saifudin will not derail much of the Azmin’s juggernaut. As to the other contestants for the same post, I don’t think they carry much weightage.

SOURCE : http://sakmongkol


[NEWS] Azmin Ali: PKR members will decide their ideal leadership

PENANTI (April 12): PKR’s Azmin Ali believes the maturity of the voting members will transcend the alliances and factions forged and will vote wisely in the coming party elections.

The party deputy president incumbent said he was above factionalism and did not believe in alliances – a trend currently developing within the party as the polls date draws near.

“Because at the end of the day, members will decide their ideal leadership based on past experiences of having weathered numerous elections.

“Members will decide. It is not an alliance or a cartel that determine the future of the party. I don’t believe in factions and forming up alliances within the structure of the party,

“The future of the party will be decided by members through a direct election. I believe in the wisdom of our members. They have gone through many elections, be it general elections, state elections, by-elections, or party elections.

“I think my PKR members have matured along the process and it is not easy to be in this party as there are many challenges and tribulations,” he told a press conference during a closed door meeting with PKR leaders and members.

The Gombak MP and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman was asked to comment on the alliance formed by incumbents PKR vice president Nurul Izzah, secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution and strategist Rafizi Ramli.

Speculations are rife that the alliance, where Nurul will defend her post, Rafizi for one of the four vice president posts and Saifuddin for the deputy president post was formed to oust Azmin and his supporters from holding key positions.

Speculations are rife that the alliance, where Nurul will defend her post, Rafizi going for one of the four vice president posts and Saifuddin for the deputy president post, was formed to oust Azmin and his supporters from holding key positions.

To this Azmin replied: “I do not see it that way. I see the nominations coming from my colleagues are with good intention. They want to offer their services and ideas, and how to strengthen the party.

“I look at it from that angle and I think each one of us have our own strengths. I want the idea of inclusivity to be strengthened in the party.”

He said that he was not part of any team and was keen on incorporating every person with no intention on placing a stamp on his alleged chosen ones which members should accept.

The 50-year-old, who has been with the party since day one in 1999 and alongside PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim since 1987, was seen as a party loyalist with unshakeable trust in the topmost leadership.

Thus, when asked if the reason he withdrew from contesting the president’s post was because Anwar and his wife, PKR president incumbent Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail threw their hats in the ring, Azmin said there was no reason to challenge them.

Admitting that it was a difficult question to answer if it came to challenging the post, he said he was comfortable working with Anwar and Wan Azizah.

“Of course Anwar is a symbol and I need him to lead the party. I was among the first in the leadership of the party who discussed with him last year and tried to convince him to take up the presidency post when it comes to the party election.

“However, I strongly objected any move to institutionalise the post of ketua umum (general leader). There was an attempt to formalise this position by putting it in the party constitution when we had the special congress last year.

“Thank God the idea was rejected. We believe the party still needs Anwar’s leadership.

“At the same time we noticed that Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) would not let him have an easy way to either participate in the Kajang by-election or take up a post in the party. They will go all out to deny his right to lead us.

“But that is not the issue. The issue here is we need his leadership and if there is anything that disallows him to hold the position then certainly Wan Azizah has the capacity to continue and lead the party,” he said.

As to his views on heading the party in a post Anwar-era, Azmin said the party should move beyond Anwar as PKR was not an Anwar-centric party.

He said the party and leadership should be responsible to provide the space and opportunity for the second generation to take over the lead in order to prepare for the next leadership.

Nevertheless, he added, it was a `big challenge’ for PKR but one that ought to be met with adequate programmes and initiatives to identify new talents that could be recruited to become part of the mainstream leadership.

Rather outspoken with no minces in his words, Azmin pointedly said though he was open to criticisms, he would not tolerate lies.

“My conscience is clear. I just want to do my job. You talk about reform … when Umno does something (wrong), you bantai (criticise) them but when PKR does wrong, you keep quiet … you cannot do that.

“My conscience will not allow me to do it. What is important is that one must not engage in character assassination and lies.

“On policy matters and programme that are in the interest of rakyat, I have to defend. For instance, recently I spoke about the water deal in Selangor.

“We promised transparency, good governance and accountability and now we agree with them (federal government) that this agreement will be subjected to the Official Secrets Act.

“I cannot keep quiet on that. If you say I am critical of Khalid (Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim), I accept because it is in the interest of the rakyat, not mine.

“The users need to know what was signed with the federal government,” he said when asked about his working relationship with Khalid who has also voiced his intention to challenge the deputy president post.

Azmin said he was ready to face a four-cornered fight with Khalid, Saifuddin and Batu MP Tian Chua as it was a `democratic process’ where it was time for them to show their commitment and conviction the party’s cause.

When pointed out that several blogs speculated that he would return to Umno if he lost his deputy president position, Azmin replied: “They can say many things especially during the election but I think my track record speaks for itself.

“I will continue to serve even if I am not elected in the elections.”

The PKR election is shaping up to be a heated match with several twists, turns and alleged manipulations.

While Anwar and Wan Azizah contest the top most post, a four-cornered fight was expected for the number two position while 15 leaders will slug it out to fill four vice presidents’ seats.

Nominations for these posts and 20 central committee positions will open today with polling by about 496,923 members at branch levels taking place between April 25 and May 11 before the announcement of results on May 13.

Read more:

Members, not cartels, will determine PKR’s future,

PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, who is defending his position in the upcoming party elections, says alliances or “‘cartels” will not determine the party’s future.

Instead, the 15-year party veteran called for inclusivity and unity to strengthen PKR, saying it was paramount in facing challenges from Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno and to emerge stronger in the next general election.

“An alliance or cartel will not determine PKR’s future. It is the members who will decide.

“Now that we are having direct elections (to choose all party leaders), I encourage them to come out to vote for who should lead the party, especially at this difficult time when there are so many charges against (party de facto leader) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“There are so many challenges before us. Penang and Selangor are both under siege by BN. We need a strong leadership to face BN and to prepare for the 14th general election,” he said at a party meeting at Yayasan Aman in Penanti, Penang, yesterday.

Azmin is looking at a tough fight to retain the No. 2 post that he won in 2010, contesting against top guns Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, and a third contender, Hulu Selangor party branch member Datuk K. Ramachandran.

It is an open secret that Azmin and Khalid do not see eye to eye.

With Saifuddin teaming up with vice-presidential hopefuls Nurul Izzah Anwar and party strategist Rafizi Ramli in an alliance, indications are that they are all out to remove Azmin from his seat.

Azmin said he did not see the challenge as an attempt to kick him out but regarded the nominations of his colleagues as a show of good intention to offer their services and new ideas.

He said it was a healthy process in a democracy, and not a personal clash between any personalities.

“If you talk about reform and democracy, then certainly this is the best time to show our commitment and conviction to the cause. I welcome my colleagues’ participation in the party elections.

“Each of us has our own strengths and ideas that can be shared and used to complement one another. I do not see that they are against me.”

Asked if he was being shunned in his campaigning, he said he had never declared who were his running mates.

“I have never declared that this is my VP (vice-president), this is my supreme council. I am open. Do not blame me.

“I did not come here to declare that you (the members) must support or accept my VP or line-up, unlike the alliance. They have declared it openly. I have not. I believe in the wisdom of the members,” he said.

“Like Sim… he was there and now he is here. I have no problems,” said Azmin, referring to Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, who was present at the gathering with another Penang PKR leader, Machang Bubuk assemblyman Lee Khai Loon.

The local leaders had also been seen with the other group.

On whether he had become unpopular among the upper echelon of the party because of his outspokenness on various issues, he said he has been criticised for 15 years since joining PKR and his conscience was clear.

The Gombak MP and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman said he could not keep quiet when there were matters that had an impact on the people, like the water deal signed between the Selangor government and Putrajaya.

Earlier this week, Azmin had proposed that a select committee be formed to monitor the ongoing negotiations between Selangor and Putrajaya on the takeover of water assets.

He said the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor had promised the people transparency, accountability and good governance and he could not accept that the water deal had been classified as confidential.

“I told Khalid that we passed the Freedom of Information Act but the government is now subjecting the water deal under the Official Secrets Act… it is a big conflict. I could not keep quiet.

“On this, yes, I criticised Khalid but I did it in the interest of the rakyat, who have every right to know what is in the deal,” he said.

“I cannot be quiet because we are talking about reform. It is against my conscience. When Umno does something wrong, we slam them but when PKR does something wrong, we keep quiet. This is not right.”

Azmin said some PR leaders have found him tough to deal with when it came to negotiating seat allocations, but said although he would fight hard to keep seats for PKR, he never went against consensus.

“If I wanted to be popular, I would have said things like ‘So you want the seat. Here, take it.’ I have to take a position and I have to pay the price.

“Anwar is the chief, so he has to play his role. He is the good cop. I am the bad cop.”

On speculation in blogs that he would rejoin Umno if he lost in the party elections, he said all sorts of talk would surface during the elections but he was confident that his track record would speak for itself.

The Anwar loyalist joined PKR in 1999 as one of the pioneering members. He was vice-president for three terms beginning 2001.

“When Reformasi took place, many of my colleagues were overseas. Anwar had told them to stay away because he did not want to have them victimised by the system. But I stayed put… I told him I needed to be here to defend the truth.

“It cannot be erased from history and record that I was detained on September 16, 1998, just four days before Anwar was picked up. They wanted me, Anwar’s longest-serving officer, to say certain things and fabricate evidence against him. I did not do that.

“Why would I go to BN and Umno now?” he said, adding that he would continue to serve PKR even if he was not re-elected.

On why he was not contesting for presidency and whether it was because both Anwar and incumbent president, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, were in the running, Azmin said he was comfortable working with either one of them.

He said PKR still needed Anwar and there was no reason for him to challenge him or his wife, Dr Wan Azizah.

“Anwar is a symbol in PKR and we need him to lead the party. I think I was the first to convince him to go for party president.

“BN will not allow him an easy way to take the party presidency… if anything prevents Anwar from leading PKR, Azizah also has the capability to lead the party,” he said, but added that there would come a time when the party had to move beyond Anwar.

Azmin said PKR was not an Anwar-centric party and it must be sensible to allow opportunity and space for its second generation of leaders to take over the helm.

He said that was the biggest challenge for PKR now, so it must ensure that there were initiatives and programmes to identify new talent in the party and recruit young professionals as members.

The younger leaders, he said, must continue to have the chance to participate in the policy-making process at all levels.

PKR is holding direct elections to choose leaders at all levels, including the top posts. The elections begin on April 25 and end on May 11. – April 12, 2014.