By Sean Augustin
Forming alliances in the run-up to party elections could worsen the internal schism in the party, political analyst Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said, although PKR rejects the theory.
The Universiti Sains Malaysia professor said that it would have a negative impact on the party in the long run.
“It won’t solve the bickering, unless PKR comes together after the elections,” he told The Rakyat Post.
Sivamurugan was commenting on outgoing PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail’s announcement that he was teaming up with vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli for the party elections.
PKR had been plagued with stories about Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali being at odds with each other.
Some quarters have claimed that the bickering led to the “Kajang Move” which would have seen de facto leader Anwar replace Abdul Khalid after the Kajang state seat was vacated.
Anwar, was however, barred from contesting after the Court of Appeal overturned his acquittal earlier last month for sodomising his aide in 2008.
Anwar’s wife, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail subsequently replaced him as candidate and won the Kajang by-election.
Sivamurugan, however, said even if the divide in the party grew wider due to alliances formed, it would not be similar to what happened to Umno in 1987 which saw ‘Team A’ and ‘Team B’ created during its election and even led to a court case.
This was because unlike PKR, he explained, the factionalism in Umno came from the top.
Fellow political analyst Professor James Chin, meanwhile, pointed out that camps in political parties were a natural phenomenon and factions were something that could not be gotten rid of.
“It would still be there regardless of the announcement made.”
Chin said the reason Saifuddin made such an announcement was merely to inform supporters.
PKR Deputy Secretary-General Darell Leiking, meanwhile, said while it might look like a form of factionalism, it did not mean the party was divided.
With the party practising a one man, one vote system, the Penampang Member of Parliament explained that it was natural for people who felt that they could work together to form a group.
“It’s like in a classroom where you would have different cliques, but you would unite when competing with another classroom.”
He added that once the dust had settled after the election the “disappointed” and “exalted” sides would converge to face the Barisan Nasional.