Saifuddin warns all PKR members to adhere to Utusan boycott

Malaysia Chronicle, 6 October 2010

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution has warned all members to adhere to the party’s decision to boycott Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia and its weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia.

He did not mention names but it was obvious to many members, who have been perturbed by aggressive campaign launched by FT chief Zaid Ibrahim for the deputy presidency, who it was Saifuddin was referring to.

Indeed, on Tuesday, Zaid had declared he would continue to give interviews to the Umno-controlled media even though he had once rebuked them sharply for twisting his words.

Of late, Zaid himself has been slammed for going to the Umno media and openly criticizing PKR, his main rival for the deputy presidency Azmin Ali and even de-facto head Anwar Ibrahim in an apparent bid to boost his own personal popularity.

“It is part of party discipline to respect decisions that the party has made,” Saifuddin told reporters on Wednesday.

Saboteurs – external

Saifuddin went on to explain that the Utusan ban had nothing to do with freedom of the press, but rather as a clear show of protest against the newspaper’s blatant disrespect for PKR and Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

The secretary-general also gave notice to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Umno deputy president, that PKR will be naming who the Umno-linked saboteurs were who had caused trouble at some of the PKR divisional elections recently.

PKR leaders had previously accused these saboteurs of having colluded with others in upsetting the divisional meetings held over the past few weekends as part of the party’s historic direct elections.

“I am answering his challenge and I shall name the troublemakers we identified from video recordings,” said Saifuddin, referring to Muhyiddin’s dare that PKR name the troublemakers if its accusations were true.


Sabouteurs – internal

Among those that Saifuddin identified was Razak Halili, who had been captured on CCTV causing trouble at the Kuala Langat divisional polls. “He was a PKR member, but left after our losses in the 2004 polls. He may have joined Umno afterwards, I don’t know. But he did apply again but his application was rejected,” said Saifuddin.

He also identified another troublemaker with Umno-links at the Klang division but declined to divulge the full details until “later”.

However, apart from ‘outside’ saboteurs, PKR may be facing its greatest danger from within. There are members who have been suspected of trying to destabilize PKR and accused of working in concert with the Umno troublemakers.

Anwar himself has warned of Trojan horses within PKR, while other leaders such as Batu MP Tian Chua have lambasted the way certain leaders have been campaigning that has brought disrepute to PKR.

“It should never be a big thing but just a friendly within-the-family contest. And this is the way our elections have always been in the past years. Only this year, has it become like a circus. Members are upset, we are upset. It has been overblown and there will be consequences for the party to bear,” Tian told Malaysia Chronicle.

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