PKR Perlis berjaya menubuhkan 21 cawangan baru menjadikan jumlah kesemuanya 26 setakat ini, kata pengerusi perhubungannya Johari Shafie.
Beliau berkata, bahagian-bahagian Kangar dan Padang Besar masing-masing 10 cawangan baru, sementara satu cawangan dibuka di Arau.
“Kami juga ingin mengumumkan kemasukan 52 ahli baru termasuk bekas pengarah jabatan Pelajaran Perlis, Zakaria Jap dan Dr Suraya Sudin, bekas AJK Wanita Umno bahagian Kangar.
Kedua-dua mereka turut menyerahkan borang permohonan menjadi ahli PKR kepada ahli parlimen Sungai Petani, Datuk Johari Abdul dalam satu majlis di Kangar, Sabtu lalu, kata Johari ketika dihubungi Malaysiakini hari ini.
Tambahnya, PKR juga akan cuba menggerakkan semula enam cawangan parti yang ketika ini tidak aktif.
Menurut Johari, PKR Perlus telah melakukan rombakan terhadap kepimpinan parti peringkat negeri tetapi tidak boleh mengumumkannya kerana belum mendapat kelulusan pucuk pimpinan PKR. -Malaysiakini.com
After months of keeping the nation in suspense, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has decided to join Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR party.
“I’m confident in the party’s cause. I believe I have an opportunity to assist Anwar and PKR,” said Zaid.
The announcement was made during a press conference at a PKR special congress called to push through iconic reforms aimed at taking the party to the forefront of the political league and helping it to achieve national power together with its coalition allies DAP and PAS.
According to Anwar, Zaid’s entry will be a big boost for the party because “he is known for his bravery in defending human rights and the independence of judiciary”.
The well-respected lawyer is expected to be made a member of the party’s powerful supreme council and its political bureau.
Zaid had resigned from the cabinet in 2008 to protest the use of the Internal Security Act to arrest three civilians – DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng.
Three months later, he was sacked from Umno for ostensibly attending functions held by the PKR and DAP.
By Wong Choon Mei [Updated]
PKR officials are busy putting the final touches to Saturday’s special congress, where a raft of iconic reforms are due to be passed aimed at putting the party at the forefront of the country’s political league and strengthening its bid for national power along with its coalition partners.
A solid turnout is expected as delegates table motions that will give individual members direct voting rights to choose whom they want as their national leaders – from the party presidency, a post currently held by Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, all the way down to the 20-member supreme council.
At division level, voting is already on a one-man one-vote system, but a resolution calling for the process to be further enhanced by secret balloting and indelible ink is also on the cards.
So too are a tenure limit to nine years or three terms for the party presidency and a landmark qualifying-age reduction for Youth members to 35 and below.
“All the resolutions are so major, no other party in Malaysia has ever had the will to do it before,” Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin told Suara Keadilan.
“For me, apart from the direct vote, it is the Youth qualifying-age that will really do things for PKR. It will not only transform the party but also propel politics in Malaysia into a new and younger dimension.
“I am 32 years old so I can tell you it will influence people in my age group to become active in politics. And by operation of process, the political landscape will change accordingly. How will it change? It will get younger as young Malaysia gets more and more empowered. They will finally get a chance to put through their ideas and govern using their own style.”
Women empowerment is also another big thing at the PKR-do tomorrow, which will kick off with dinner on Friday night.
A resolution putting women in charge of at least 30 percent of all party posts is another reform aimed to reflect the reality of the times and the gender’s contribution.
“This is something PKR is very serious about and what we are trying to do is to give shape to that wish. We don’t want to just pay lip service and then do nothing. Women are and will be a vital part of PKR,” said vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah.
But attracting the greatest buzz is of course the direct vote to be given to PKR’s 300,000-strong membership.
Not only will members get to personally vote in their choice of national leadership, they will get to do it in style – again by secret ballot and using indelible ink!
The first vote will take place in 2010 when party polls are due.
“We are very excited and proud because no other party in Malaysia has dared to leave the choice to their members,” Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang.
“Whether you like it or not, this actually shows the current leaders are institutionalizing the party. Anwar Ibrahim and Wan Azizah are saying PKR is for the people, it is not our private sole-proprietorship!
“It is really a very generous gesture and will attract a lot of people into PKR. At the moment, many shun politics because it is viewed as corrupt and a game that only the rich and already-powerful can win. The others have no chance.
“But with this direct vote, the door is open. Meritocracy and popularity will be important. Everyone has a fighting chance if they wish to go for it. So I think we will see a huge jump in membership because of this.”
However, there were other members who wondered if the changes were overly bold and being taken too quickly.
“I am optimistic about the changes these resolutions will bring,” said Youth Chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin . “But maybe not all the motions will go through at one go. Some may hit a snag, but then this is truly what the democratic process is all about.”
“You must remember, we have delegates from all over including Sabah and Sarawak. They will be concerned about their representation in the party. Some thought must be given to that. So we may see heated debate but again, that is part of the process.”
Nevertheless, the majority view was to allow the system’s natural check-and-balance to correct and re-balance teething problems.
“It is like a child learning to walk. If you are too protective, he will only know how to crawl. But if you gauge the time is right and you are brave enough to let go, your child will surely walk even though he may fall down at first,” said Sim.
“So the same for PKR. There are critics who worry about corruption and vote-buying once it is open to all members. But this is so silly, the corruption will be grossly reduced. It is when you restrict it to a small number of delegates, then it is easy to buy out that small group.
“I am sure you know a good example of this type of corruption is Umno. Not only is it feasible to vote-buy all the way up to the Umno presidency but ultimately also the premiership of the country.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDERBy Debra Chong
PETALING JAYA, June 10 — After 10 years of being in Umno’s shadow, PKR is finally taking steps to correct the widespread impression that it is just another breakaway faction of the grand old party now facing a crisis of public confidence.
At a press conference today, vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah announced a special national congress on Saturday to pass several changes to its party constitution, notably giving its 300,000 members the chance to vote directly for its top central party leaders, including the president.
He said direct voting through secret ballots was a chance to show the Election Commission how free and fair elections can be run properly.
“We are also taking the opportunity to rebrand the terms used in the party structure to reflect terms that are progressive and more egalitarian, and to move away from terms associated with traditional party structures and feudal connotations,” said Sivarasa.
He rejected a suggestion that the special meeting to pass changes to the party constitution was a knee-jerk reaction to recent events affecting PKR and its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance at large.
The MP for Subang explained that the party was supposed to have the congress in February but it had been set aside to allow the party to focus on the series of by-elections in Bukit Selambau, Bukit Gantang, Batang Ai and Penanti.
He added the party had started the groundwork last year and taken its ideas to the grassroots around the country for feedback. The response was highly positive.
The central committee is confident the proposals will be well-received by the delegates on Saturday.
Sivarasa stressed that the party was rebranding itself to be more inclusive, to mirror its multiracial, multireligious members, namely the growing numbers from Sarawak and Sabah, in a deliberate attempt to move away from the traditional and “feudal” political party structures, such as money politics and phantom members.
Information chief Latheefa Koya told The Malaysian Insider that some older members were still stuck with the Umno way of thinking and needed to be reminded that the party needs to be more inclusive if it is to be serious about taking over the national government one day, and soon.
The changes to the constitution, Latheefa noted, would help clean up the party of members with such outdated mindsets.
She explained that changing certain references, for example, renaming division or “bahagian” as it is known in Malay to “cabang” and “cawangan” to “ranting”, may appear minor cosmetic changes, but is far from it.
It is to remind not only the older members but the public that the true spirit of PKR lies in the struggle to bring about real democratic reforms, as championed by political parties in Indonesia and also in Malaysia’s past, Latheefa added.
PKR communications director Jonson Chong said the proposals needed to be passed by two-thirds of the delegates in order for the constitution to be amended.
Chong said he expected a turnout of some 1,500 delegates on Saturday.
By Wong Choon Mei
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR party is positioning itself for national power along with its Pakatan Rakyat partners by taking iconic steps aimed at showing Malaysians that it is serious about fighting corruption and providing a government that is truly by the people, and not just a clutchful of select leaders.
Nearly 2,000 PKR delegates from all parts of Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak will meet up in Kuala Lumpur this Saturday to debate key resolutions that if passed will put the party at the forefront of the country’s political league.
The chief among these will be a one-man one-vote system for the election of top party leaders. Not a light task considering that PKR has more than 300,000 members, and new recruits growing at 10,000 per month.
“We will be the first in Malaysia to implement this and rightly so because PKR stands for justice and democracy,” vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah told Suara Keadilan in an interview.
“It is indeed fitting for us to flag off this practice which hopefully the other political parties will follow and adopt. It paves the way for a stronger, healthier and more transparent Malaysia.”
PKR is also planning to limit to three terms or nine years the tenure of the party presidency. It wants to expand the number of vice presidents from five to seven and reduce the qualifying age of the Youth Wing to 35.
The congress will also seek an express commitment from the party that women shall hold not less than 30 percent of all positions.
Said strategic affairs director Tian Chua: “These are giant steps forward for PKR. They will enable us to become a truly people’s party entrenched with progressive and democratic values. It will also enable us to expand and reach out to the masses more effectively.
Party members welcomed the changes, describing them as broad-based reforms aimed at strengthening the party and its future rather than to uphold the power of the current leadership.
Reducing the tenure of the presidency would head off potential abuse of power and ensure that those who got elected did not waste time getting down to work if they wanted to make a mark on both party and the country.
“All of these measures were initially drawn up last year around November,” said Sivarasa, who is also the Subang MP.
“What we have been doing since is to gather the feedback, dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s. It is not out of the blue, it requires huge preparation and we are not following Umno. We are trail-blazing, they are following us.”
According to Sivarasa, increasing the number of vice presidencies was a top necessity to reduce the workload on the current team and ensure tighter administration.
“We are growing so fast, five VPs is not at all enough. Just last week, the supreme council approved 10,000 new members and the week before it was the same number. Growth is phenomenal,” Sivarasa said.
Engaging and empowering young Malaysia
Cutting the maximum age for the Youth wing to 35 would also motivate young professionals to join and be active in PKR.
“We need to empower the younger people, to engage them in the decision-making process. That way we can ensure a very vibrant PKR, full of young ideas and vision that is in sync with the rest of the nation,” said 32-year old Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin.
“We don’t want our Youth wing to be like Umno’s where old hags like Khir Toyo and Mukhriz Mahathir dominate. This is a pretty exciting change for PKR and it speaks volumes about how serious it is in wanting to engage young Malaysia. Power is for all, not just the old and the privileged.”
The party is also bent on getting women to be more active although party members acknowledge that it might currently be tough to achieve the target of at least 30 percent women in party posts.
“At the moment, it is still male-dominated, but we hope this will change quickly especially with the commitment from the party,” said Sim.
PKR currently has a president, Wan Azizah Wan ismail, a deputy president, Syed Husin Ali, five vice presidents Azmin Ali, Sivarasa Rasiah, Lee Boon Chye, Jeffrey Kitingan and Mustaffa Kamil Ayub, and a 20-member supreme council.
A rebranding exercise will also be take place, with the supreme council renamed the central executive committee and the state liasion committees the state executive committees.
The polling process for division leaders, who currently are already elected by individual members, will be enhanced by secret balloting. This will replace the existing show-of-hands system.
“All these are to encourages greater participation in the party’s activities and decision-making. We are a party of the people and it only right that we put in steps to ensure that they can play an effective role,” said Tian.
“The last thing we want is to be like Umno where only 2,500 delegates get to make the decision for the grassroots and the country as a whole. Just imagine the corruption involved. It is an outright abuse and mockery of the democratic system.”