Monday, October 4, 2010

Bad political culture taking hold of PKR

By Luke Rintod

PENAMPANG: Something is not right with PKR if the party elections is the barometer.

A veteran leader of the now-defunct Unko (United National Kadazandusun Organisation), Fred Edwin Lojingki, 69, said the chaotic nature of the on-going polls in Sabah as well as in
the peninusula was a manifestation of a bad political culture being promoted in the party.

"I heard in Semporna that the incumbent divisional chief had to pull out his shotgun over something connected with the ballot boxes locked inside a room. In Batu Sapi, Sandakan, a candidate for divisional chief punched a party officer.

"Elsewhere boxing and kicking are the norm. In Semenanjung, there were cases where people were hurt and some even suffered broken legs. It is bewildering.

"Closer to my hometown Penampang, polling yesterday was also chaotic because of disturbances. It was very unruly, there was no peace. I was told this by my relatives who are PKR members," he added.

"In my long years in politics since the 1960s until now, both as activist and observer, I have never seen something like this where party election was marred by underhand tactics and run by questionable management.

"Not in Unko, not in Upko (United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation), not in Pekemas, not in any political party. What we had were isolated cases, but in PKR, chaos and violence seem to be the norm everywhere rather than the exception," he said.

Political animalism

Lojingki reminded younger politicians not to easily fall into the trap of a bad political culture practised by a few leaders that will eventually ruin civil society.

"Anwar Ibrahim, being the de facto leader of PKR, is the one to be blamed for all this ruckus. There were claims within PKR that Anwar himself promotes 'political animalism' against good ethics, and this worries many.

"One must remember that we don't live forever in this world. We as leaders must leave behind a legacy of good examples of how to get things done correctly. We must not do everything, including bad things, just to achieve the ends we want," he said.

Lojingki, who is a keen follower of PKR but not a member, said he was saddened and disappointed to see Sabahan politicians in PKR getting themselves entangled in violent and dirty politics.

Results for the Penampang election will be known later.

Police report, walkout mar Penampang PKR polls

By Queville To

PENAMPANG: A faction in Penampang PKR has filed a police report over the conduct of the party divisional election here.

The faction claimed that the election was improperly conducted and against the party constitution.

Led by Innocent Makajil, the faction staged a walkout in protest during polling here Sunday.

“As far as we are concerned, the election was illegal as it was not properly conducted in accordance to the party constitution," said Penampang PKR secretary Franky Lobinjang.

"To begin with, there was no proper dissolution of the present committee, as there was no passing of the minutes of the previous AGM (Annual General Meeting) and no secretary or treasurer reports were presented."

He also claimed that the AGM was chaired by James Ghani, Papar PKR chief, who he said had no connection to the Penampang division.

“By right, it should be chaired by the permanent chairman of the division, Aloysius Sikuis or someone who is duly elected by the members of the division, and not someone who is not even a member of Penampang PKR,” he contended.

Outside voters

Adding to the problem was the presence of 'outsiders' among the 1,000 over members who turned up to cast their votes at the polling station at the compound of a member’s residence in Kg Tuavon, in Kasigui here.

Lobinjang also claimed that some of the members were not given ballot papers and polling closing early.

“We are absolutely not happy with what happened today and we will lodge an official report with the Registrar of Office (RoS) after this,” vowed Lobinjang.

The atmosphere at the polling station was also said to be rather tense at one point of time, until the Federal Reserve Unit had to be called in to standby at the district police station.

PKR vice president Jeffrey Kitingan and his entourage were also present at the venue to observe the election at around 3pm but left shortly after.

Despite the protest by the disgruntled faction, the election proceeded with a three-cornered fight between incumbent Penampang PKR chief Roland Chia, businessman Brett Chua and Darell Liking, a lawyer.

Meanwhile, when contacted later, Roland brushed aside Lobinjang's claims, saying that it was just the “usual things” during party election.

He expected the counting of votes to take a long time citing the large voter turnout.

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