What will happen to PKR Sarawak?

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(Editor’s note: This commentary was published before the statement by PKR Sarawak information chief Vernon Kedit was released. In the statement, Vernon said that the top post of Sarawak PKR is decided by all its division chiefs, and not by the party president as said by Julau MP Larry Sng. Vernon’s statement: https://dayakdaily.com/the-top-post-in-sarawak-pkr-is-decided-by-all-its-division-leaders-vernon/)

By Lian Cheng


AND so, the two Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy presidential candidates Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Rafizi Ramli have locked in hugs and buried the hatchet.

With that gesture, PKR at the national level seems to be moving forward with Azmin remaining the party’s No. 2 and Rafizi announcing that he would not push for re-election in divisions like Julau and other divisions in Sabah, in which he claimed he had overwhelming support.

Following these two top brass of PKR, willingly or unwillingly, patching up for the sake of the party at the national level, the question now is this: What will happen to Sarawak PKR?

Sarawak has been making claims and is proud of its friendliness and open nature with all its neighbours, political or otherwise.

But the multiple reports lodged with the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the countless twists and turns of events as well as the volleying of allegations and accusations that happened during the party’s election in Sarawak have, however, revealed a different picture.

The recent Sarawak PRK election shredded that “façade” and laid bare what Sarawakians are actually capable of. If those news that came to light are to be described as “shocking”, then those “untold ones” that were passed on through word-of-mouth would be categorised as “alarming”.

In fact, some of the accusations and allegations hurled during the Sarawak PKR party elections made it one of the most “questionable” elections ever held in Sarawak, or possibly in the history of Malaysia.

The way Sarawakians practised politics must have left many Peninsular Malaysians stunned. From now onwards, Sarawakians can no longer claim they are a simple lot who uphold traditional and cultural integrity and also a simple way of dealing with people.

This is sad.

What is even more pathetic is that the struggles for power that sparked such ugly political mud-slinging did not benefit Sarawakians politicians directly.

Sarawak, especially Julau, was just a battleground in the proxy war between Azmin and Rafizi, who are political leaders in the peninsula. Regardless of who won, they were the ones tasting the fruits of victory while their Sarawakian comrades licked their wounds. Is it worth it?

And with Azmin and Rafizi publicly embracing each other and letting bygones be bygones, will Sarawak PKR leaders do the same?

Julau MP and branch chairman Larry Sng, when contacted, maintained that there was no hatchet to be buried. To him, after the dramatic party election, things should be over and back to normal.

However, is this true?  With many cases pending official investigations, can both PKR fractions in Sarawak — one led by incumbent state chief Baru Bian, who is also Selangau MP and Works Minister, and the other by Sng — just kiss and make up and call it a day, even for perception’s sake?

Will the animosity and tension within Sarawak PKR just melt away and the hurt inflicted on each other simply heal just because the party election has ended, as claimed by Sng?

In politics, everything is possible, of course. For the greater good of the party, Azmin and Rafizi were able to do that by laying down their differences and moving on, so Baru and Sng just might emulate them. Even if Baru and Sng refuse to patch up, they might not resort to getting at each other’s throat, for the sake of the party.

However, the reality for PKR now is to embark on a new phase of political development, where its president, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, consolidates his power in the party. The fight between Azmin and Rafizi may not totally wear out the patience that Baru has for PKR politics; the appointment of Sarawak party chieftain however, might just be another story.

With Anwar consolidating his power, and it is within his prerogative to decide on chieftains for all states, will he pick Baru or Sng?

There are already rumours that Sng will be the new Sarawak chief as Baru has been addressed as the “outgoing Sarawak PKR chief”. Furthermore, Anwar had publicly singled out Baru and reprimanded him for not attending the PKR National Congress.

Is this a tell tale sign that Baru will be offloaded from the Sarawak PKR leadership?

If, as speculated, Anwar picks Sng, who is a newcomer in the party but who is fiercely and firmly aligned to him, what will happen to Baru — the long-time PKR fighter in Sarawak? Will Baru be able to swallow it for the sake of party unity? Or will it be a case of the last straw which breaks the camel’s back, so to speak?

Sarawak PKR supporters will just have to wait and see. — DayakDaily