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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gobala Quits PKR

PKR loses a strong supporter: Padang Serai MP Gopala will be a loner in Parliament

by Susan Loone@www.malaysiakini.com

Padang Serai member of parliament N Gobalakrishnan has quit PKR, making him the sixth PKR MP to become an Independent.

“I have stepped down from all posts in PKR and will continue my work through a new NGO,” said his twitter posting this morning.

Gobalakrishnan, who called a press conference this morning at his Padang Serai office in Kedah to make the annoucement, told Malaysiakini that he is now an independent MP with immediate effect.

Four other MPs have quit PKR since the 2008 general elections to become Independents –Zahrain Mohd Hashim (Bayan Baru),Tan Tee Beng (Nibong Tebal), Mohsin Fadzil Samsuri (Bagan Serai) and Wee Choo Keong(Wangsa Maju) – while another, Zulkifli Nordin (Kulim-Bandar Bahru), was sacked from the party.

PKR now has 23 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, down from 31 after the March 2008 general elections, while DAP has 29 and PAS, 23. BN will need another four defections to reclaim its much-coveted two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The magic figure for the ruling coalition is 148, and it will be able to achieve this with its 138 seats along with the support of the existing seven BN-friendly independents (including Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali) plus another four.

Gobalakrishnan’s move today on the eve of the Tenang by-election appeared to follow the same pattern as Wee, who announced his resignation from PKR two days before last year’s May 16 Sibu by-election.

He will not join Zaid’s Kita

Gobalakrishnan said his decision to quit the party came after a visit from one of PKR deputy president Azmin Ali’s “strongmen”. But he declined to name the visitor.

“They thought I will toe the party’s line, but after seeing so much that had happened in the party, I have no choice but to quit,” said Gobalakrishnan.

“They have been planning to get rid of me and have already assigned someone else to do the work in Padang Serai (constituency),” he added.

Gobalakrishnan nevertheless expressed sadness over his departure from the party as he had been with the party for over a decade.

“But I will continue to provide my service to the people here,” he vowed. Gobalakrishnan will however not be joining Zahrain’s Independent Consensus nor Zaid Ibrahim’s newly launched Kita, or People’s Welfare Party.

He said he would instead be dedicating his efforts to set up a new NGO to focus on social development and supporting places of worship.

The NGO is currently being registered with the Registrar of Societies, said Gobalakrishnan. On whether he has officially informed the party about his departure, Gobalakrishnan sarcastically said that secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail was “IT savvy”.“This is a globalised world, he would have known about it already.”

‘Twitter’ warpath

Gobalakrishnan’s recent tirade against party leaders had recently earned him a 45-page show-cause letter, which he had refused to reply.

In the December 31 letter, he was asked to show cause, failing which, the party’s disciplinary board will decide on his fate. According to Section 27.7 of the party’s constitution, this may include terminating his PKR membership, stated the letter.

Gobalakrishnan, a former PKR supreme council member, has gone on the ‘twitter’ warpath against the party leadership, claiming that last year’s party elections were rigged.

In the course of his various criticisms, he had demanded that party de factoleader Anwar Ibrahim to step down, before he appeared at the home of the party’s biggest dissident Zaid Ibrahim, who has since quit the party to form Kita.

Gobalakrishnan has also lambasted the party for appointing political novice N Surendran as vice-president, claiming that the latter was not capable of representing the Indian community as he could not speak Tamil fluently.

One of the top contenders for PKR vice-president, Gobalakrishnan had harboured hope that he would be appointed into the post when he failed to win the top four spots.

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