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Saturday, June 26, 2010

PKR stirs mixed feelings in Sabah

PKR vice-president Jeffrey Kitingan is a tired man. Not due to a heavy workload but because of numerous failed attempts to get the ear of his Peninsular Malaysia colleagues. In other words, Jeffrey has lost faith in PKR.

So when PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim criticised PKR's lack of a credible leadership structure in an earlier interview with FMT, Jeffrey didn't hesitate to voice his agreement.

“We need credible leaders,” he emphasised. “I can't speak for Selangor but Sabah and Sarawak are in dire need of a stronger leadership structure. We need iconic leaders to restore the people's faith in PKR and right now, we don't have them.”

According to Jeffrey, PKR has only itself to blame for its floundering structure in Sabah and Sarawak.

“The party fielded any Tom, Dick and Harry for the constituencies without a thought of their capabilities,” he said. “And because they were not credible or recognisable leaders, they have lost the people's support and confidence.”

Jeffrey has a right to his resentment. An ex-BN leader, he crossed over four years ago to fight for a different set of beliefs. But he said “PKR's disinterest in its leaders in Sabah and Sarawak” has left him frustrated and disillusioned.

Last October, he reached the end of his tether and threw in his resignation. However, it was rejected by the party leadership and he was persuaded to stay with the assurance that things would change.

“I am still waiting for that change,” he said in frustration. “It seems like leaders in Sabah and Sarawak are made to wait for KL leaders to act before we can. The party is not moving in Sabah. All the other leaders are also disheartened.”

“I used to take the initiative to launch my own activities but then I received snide remarks from my KL counterparts for being 'too smart'. So I stopped. Now I'm being criticised for not making the effort. I can't win.”

In observing the current turbulence within PKR in Selangor, Jeffrey said that once again PKR seemed to be bogged down with issues of party leadership and party members.

“We are in a crisis here and the leadership is not the least bit bothered,” he said. “The Sarawak election is coming up and it doesn't seem like any preparations are underway. They are not focused at all on mobilising the party machinery here.”

“I decided to quit the party once before because the leadership was not serious about taking the views of Sabah PKR leaders. Nothing has changed since then. I am even more demotivated and want to move on.”

People are ready for PKR

Meanwhile, Kalakau Untol's audit of PKR stands in stark contrast to Jeffrey's. Also an ex-BN leader, Kalakau boarded the PKR ship in March this year and is working hand-in glove with Jeffrey as well as the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut (KDM) leaders. What he observed is that the KDM and the Chinese in Sabah are ready for a change.

“That change is PKR,” he said confidently. “The current leadership is fine as it is and I look forward to it gaining in strength after the December party elections. PKR has enough good leaders to create a strong leadership structure.”

Kalakau expressed hope that the party elections would give birth to more formidable leaders who would grant Sabah the change for which it yearned.

“For this to happen, the state leadership constitution has to be implemented,” he stated. “Whatever takes place in accordance with the constitution will also be the aspiration of Sabah.”

When asked whether he faced the same challenges as Jeffrey in getting the attention of KL leaders, he disagreed.

“I have been in touch with (PKR de facto leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) a few times since I joined the party and so far I have had a good response from him.”

“Speaking of Anwar, however, I think it is high time he took on the presidential role. There is no such thing as a de facto leader.”

courtesy of FMT

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