Monday, November 15, 2010

Tombstone protest: PKR Wanita leaders threaten to quit

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By Rahmah Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR was thrown into more turmoil when some Wanita leaders prostested and threatened to quit the party after they claimed they were barred from voting during the Lembah Pantai party polls today.

And they are willing to cross over and join former contender in the deputy presidential race Zaid Ibrahim should he decide to form a new party.

The protest also took a bizarre turn when the protesters carried a tombstone to symbolise the demise of the party if the problems are not solved soon.

PKR is already reeling from allegations of discrepancies and fraud in the conduct of the nationwide polls for the number two slot, and the latest episode is not helping the party regain credibility among its members.

Pantai Murni Wanita branch chief Fauziah Manap, who led the protest during the Lembah Pantai elections, claimed that they were not allowed to vote as disciplinary action has been taken against them for speaking to the press.

Angry and frustrated, she said she and some 200 members from the branch were willing to follow Zaid should he decide to set up a breakaway party.

“My name was first listed as a voter during the previous branch election, but today my name is no longer there. It says I have been suspended. If a new party is formed by Zaid, God willing, I will join ,” she told reporters.

Zaid recently announced his withdrawal from the deputy presidential contest, citing irregularities and discrepancies in the ongoing party polls. He has also resigned from all PKR posts.

He claimed that his rival and frontrunner Azmin Ali and de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim had contributed to the electoral mess and demanded their resignation.

He also said he might form a new party if he was sacked.

Nurul Izzah under fire

The protesters added some drama when they carried the tombstone as a symbolic warning to the top leaders that the party would be buried if they fail to solve the crisis.

“This is a warning to Lembah Pantai PKR. If the matter is not resolved and if change fails to take place, we will bury the party with this tombstone,” said a member.

They also took a swipe at Nurul Izzah Anwar, the Lembah Pantai division chief and a contender for a vice-president's post.

Pantai Murni branch chief, Mohd Hassan Mohd Tahor, said Nurul has failed to meet the disgruntled members to untangle the knotty issue.

“She has not come to meet us. We are treated like enemies. Is it wrong for her to come and greet us? We work hard for her. We don’t want her money. We just want to be respected, that is all,” he said.

Meanwhile, efforts to contact Nurul have been futile.

A total of 41 divisions have gone to the polls today, where all eyes are focused on on several “hot” divisions in the Federal Territories and Selangor.

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