“Enough is enough. You either toe the line, support the reform agenda, commit yourself to Pakatan and work together as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious entity or you leave or be kicked out. There are no two ways about it.”
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim issues a stern warning to party members, ordering them to support the party’s policies or get out. He was speaking in Penang, at the first of 14 PKR conventions to be held nationwide over the next few weeks. (Source: Toe the line or leave party, says Anwar, The Star, 9 Nov 2009)
“Islam is the religion of the Federation, including in terms of laws and legislation.”
PKR Member of Parliament (MP) for Kulim-Bandar Baru, Zulkifli Noordin, in proposing, in March 2009, a private member’s bill in Parliament to amend the federal constitution regarding the status of Islam in the country’s administration. As is common with private members’ bills in Malaysia, the motion was not heard. Zulkifli tried again during the October sitting, this time asking the government to restrict or prohibit the sale of liquor and condoms at convenience stores. He also called for the government to investigate Sisters in Islam. (Source: Zulkifli moves to amend Federal Constitution, The Nut Graph, 23 Mar 2009)
“Kalau tiba masa saya perlu memilih antara Islam dengan parti, saya tetap akan memilih Islam…”
Zulkifli‘s blog post in response to a show cause letter from his party to explain his involvement in disrupting an August 2008 Bar Council forum on conversions to Islam. (Tindakan Disiplin, Zulkifli Noordin’s blog, 7 Sep 2008)
“The matter was settled internally some time last year.”
PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali in responding to media enquiries about why no disciplinary action was taken against Zulkifli for his disruption of the Bar Council’s forum. (Source: Zulkifli’s case settled, The Star, 6 Mar 2009)
“To say that the matter was ‘settled internally’ is not acceptable for a party that values accountability and transparency.”
Former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan expressing disappointment that no public disciplinary action was taken against Zulkifli. Instead, the party named him as the shadow co-minister for higher education. (Source: Indiscipline within PKR, The Nut Graph, 3 Aug 2009)
“For instance, Zulkifli attempted to table several motions in Parliament which were not in line with party policies and without consulting party leadership.”
PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah in opining that Anwar’s warning, issued in Penang, was meant for members like Zulkifli. (Source: ‘Warning is for people like Zulkifli’, The Star, 10 Nov 2009)
“The issue of toeing the party line was mentioned in passing, and at no time did DSAI (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) mention it was meant [for] me. In fact, DSAI was happy that I remain the only MP from Pakatan that is consistent in raising matters of importance to the Muslim and Malays.”
Zulkifli challenges Sivarasa’s interpretation of Anwar’s warning, and asks him to step down instead. Seven other PKR MPs also stepped forward to support Zulkifli and described Sivarasa’s comment as “uncalled for”. (Source: Akur kehendak parti?, Zulkifli Noordin’s blog, 10 Nov 2009).
“This warning is inclusive of everybody and I did not name anybody in particular.”
Anwar downplays the dispute between Sivarasa and Zulkifli and the seven PKR MPs. At the same time, no mention is made about what action would be taken against party members such as Zulkifli whose public positions contradict Pakatan Rakyat’s stance as described by Anwar himself. (Source: Anwar downplays PKR MP-Veep clash, The Star, 11 Nov 2009)
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Anwar must realise he cannot talk different things to different people. In this age of technology, it’s easy to sum it up and see that it [does not add up].
Farish A Noor says
Thanks for this. I’m using some of the quotes for a commentary I’m writing myself. This sort of constant U-turns do not bode well for PKR/PR whose credibility is leaking on a daily basis. If one were to bracket out the personalities involved, this reluctance to issue firm guidelines in confounding.
Would a liberal party accept a conservative? Or would a conservative party accept a liberal? The question of ejecting members who do not follow the party line therefore does not arise, as it would be perfectly normal and reasonable to do so. Failing to act against any party member that does not toe the line signals a lack of will and control over the party itself, and that is why PKR is suffering a credibility deficit at the moment.
Cut Anwar some slack, people. Getting heckled by the peanut gallery before you enjoy any real power whatsoever is downright annoying. Save the rotten veggies for those already wielding power and doing a lousy job of it!
don’t know why Anwar is so soft on Zul Noordin. Maybe they go back a long way. I don’t know why Anwar let Saiful get so close to him. Maybe Anwar is generally too trusting – but that shouldn’t be viewed as a negative trait. Indeed, I would consider it a positive quality – better to give others the benefit of the doubt and get burnt, than to keep everybody at a distance and be constantly paranoid.
In the end, once Pakatan Rakyat gets into power – you can be sure there will be the usual ego conflicts occasionally erupting. Heck, we get ego conflicts in every household – between husband and wife, parents and children, between siblings. Yet somehow we manage. My point is: all the petty shortcomings you can list amongst the present crop of Pakatan leaders don’t equal even one molecule of the evil that has been perpetrated by Umno/BN over the past decades. Let’s be less quick to nitpick and whack the only hope we have of ever getting rid of the toxic garbage left behind by Mahathir.