SALAM! The ongoing fracas in PKR has caught the attention of so many people. The street protests appear to have gained momentum. The various party elections too have attracted much protests and counter protests. Last Friday, top PKR leader Datuk Zaid Ibrahim decided to leave the party. His actual date of departure is set for Dec 16. I wrote about the recent goings-on in PKR in my newspaper column which appeared in the New Sunday Times Nov 21.
Zaid, Leha, – PKR not for us anymore!
LEHA is way down in the PKR food chain. For many years, this young mother held on to her hope that the party would form the next Government. Jaafar, her husband, had harboured the same hope too.
The couple has a small flat in Kondo Rakyat in Kg Kerinchi in Lembah Pantai. During the recent Hari Raya Aidilfitri and last week’s Hari Raya Aidiladha, the couple sold lemang to supplement their income.
They make excellent lemang. At RM8 per stick, it’s a good buy. But events in the PKR in last few months have made Leha and Jaafar frustrated, angry, disappointed and disillusioned. Leha has made enquiries about joining Umno, and is anxious to sign up as soon as possible.
While Leha and Jaafar are at the lower end of the PKR hierarchy, top leader Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is just as frustrated. He couldn’t take any more of the squabbles within the party and announced his departure on Friday.
Lawyer Zaid is not likely going to join any other party, having burned his bridges with Umno when he jumped onto the PKR bandwagon. He harbours a different ambition – that of forming his own political party.
Leha and Jaafar are not following Zaid in his new venture. Zaid, as far as the couple is concerned, is but one of the many reasons for the internal squabbles in the party. The PKR crisis shows no sign of easing off, which leaves the likes of Leha and Jaafar seething.
Leha said:”The PKR leaders are ungrateful. In the last general action, I worked liked a dog to help Nurul Izzah, Anwar’s daughter, beat then incumbent MP Datuk Seri Sharizat Abd Jalil in Lembah Pantai.
“Nurul would call me very often. If no calls, there’s always SMS. As a grassroot leader, I have my own circle of friends. With very little sleep but plenty of sweat, we helped sent Nurul Izzah to Parliament.
“Today, I hardly get calls from her. No SMS too.”
For the record, Nurul Izzah garnered 21,728 votes compared with 18,883 for Sharizat. The likes of Leha and Jaafar helped gave Nurul Izzah the 2,895-vote majority.
Leha has some very unsavoury words about her MP but I chose not to share them with everyone. Her husband was a bit more dramatic. At a press conference last week, Jaafar brought along a pair of tombstones to show everyone that they were meant for PKR’s grave when the time comes.
I later found out that the tombstones were actually meant as replacement tombstones for his late sister-in-law who died many years ago. Asked to explain why he brought out the tombstones, Jaafar said:
“Saya benci PKR. Saya dah tak tahan lagi. Cakap tak serupa bikin. Penuh dengan janji-janji manis tetapi kosong. Parti ini tiada perinsip, tiada maruah.” (I hate PKR. I can’t stand it anymore. No action, talk only. They make empty promises. They have no principles, no dignity).
Zaid, too, have had enough of the PKR squabbles. Political observers had concluded much earlier that Zaid would leave the party sooner or later for the simple reason that he won’t fit into the PKR framework.
Zaid’s entry into PKR was met with a massive drumroll and warm greetings. Many had high hopes that Zaid’s entry would strengthen the party. But as Leha, Jaafar and senior party leaders later found out – this was not to be.
Zaid was seen as a troublemaker, of trying to subvert and challenge the leadership of Anwar. Battle lines were drawn and it was only a matter of time before matters came to a boil. Zaid didn’t do all that well in PKR too, having lost to Barisan Nasional’s P Kamalanathan in the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election earlier this year.
Zaid was beaten by the friendly Kamalanathan with a majority of 1,725 votes. If PKR had hoped that Zaid would strengthen the party, this defeat was certainly not the way to go. Zaid’s critics said this was the start of Zaid’s problems in the party.
Zaid’s departure from the PKR may not be the last, at least from the top end of the hierarchy. Others may follow. At the lower end of the scale, a leader like Leha is already making their way to join Umno. This is really a testing time for members who are still in the party.