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Friday, November 26, 2010

Syed Husin: Third Force will side Umno-BN, not Pakatan

Malaysia Chronicle

UPDATED PKR paid a touching tribute to Syed Husin Ali who stepped down as its deputy president after helping to buffer the party through one of its most difficult times when Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was still in jail on trumped-up sodomy and graft charges.

In a stirring sajak or poem, PKR leaders heaped praise on the 74-year old political veteran, who responded in kind when he told the cheering audience at the PJ Civic Centre:

“I feel a bit emotional touched by the tribute, touched by your statements that without Syed Husin PKR would not be where it is today. But I am even more happy to see the party where it is now and how the younger generation of male and female leaders are taking charge and leading the way forward.”

Third Force will help Umno-BN

In a speech that encompassed both strengths and weaknesses of PKR and Pakatan Rakyat, Syed Husin called for unity as the opposition braces for its first major test since sweeping five out of the nation's 13 states in the 2008 general election.

He was confident the Pakatan would do well despite attempts by "certain quarters" to establish a "Third Force" that he also predicted would help Umno-BN stay in power rather than fight for reforms for the people or for a better Malaysia.

"I see in Pakatan many strengths that we didn't have before. Firstly, we have been able to consolidate the biggest opposition parties in the country and now the small parties are looking to join us and we will welcome them as long as they adhere to our Common Policy Frameworks," said Syed Husin.

"Now, there are also attempts to form a Third Force. Once established, this Third Force can give momentum to Umno-BN and may prevent Pakatan from achieving a big victory in the next election. We have to handle this matter carefully.

He was also quick to point out that it was he himself who wanted to make way for new blood, not because “Anwar or Azmin wanted me to do so”.

“A lot of people have told me the trouble we had recently could have been avoided if I had defended my post. But I am sure even if I had chosen not to give up the No. 2 post, all the trouble would have also started. And the main actors in the drama would have been the same,” said Syed Husin.

He was opening the women and Youth wing summits at the PKR National Congress that begins today and ends on Sunday.He was referring to the spate of accusations from Zaid Ibrahim that the party's historic direct elections were rigged.

Former FT PKR chief Zaid had tried to wrest the deputy presidency but could not beat long-time vice president Azmin Ali. He has since resigned from PKR, but left only after creating a massive cloud of bad publicity for the PKR.

Speculation is rife that Zaid will head the Third Force, which is being actively mooted by lawyer-activist Haris Ibrahim and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

Meanwhile, PKR will be announcing the winners of its internal election on Sunday and Azmin will be taking over from Syed Husin as deputy to party president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Four new vice presidents will also be named - Nurul Izzah Anwar, Tian Chua, Fuziah Salleh and Mansor Othman.

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