Monday, March 20

‘PKR Sarawak convention still on’


Joshua Jabeng

KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has instructed for the Sarawak-level party convention in Miri to continue as scheduled next Saturday (Nov 23).

A statement from PKR Selangau branch chief Joshua Jabeng said Anwar’s office had tasked Miri MP Dr Michael Teo to oversee the necessary preparations.

“We expect thousands of party members and supporters from all over the state to turn up. Party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and other leaders, national and state leaders, will be there too. It is a one-day event, kicking off at 9am and running until 4pm,” he said.

Joshua said the cancellation of the convention as announced by PKR Saarwak State Leadership Council (MPN) chairman Baru Bian on Friday was ‘very regretful’.

“It is very regretful that there have been flip-flop announcements regarding the venue made in the papers by State Leadership Council chairman (MPN) Baru Bian. This has caused a lot of confusion and complaints from party leaders and members, who have made prior travel arrangements. Those who have purchased flight tickets were worried that the money spent for those tickets would be lost for nothing,” he said.

Joshua stated that it was improper for Baru to have issued such a statement in the name of MPN.

“The fact is there was neither such discussion nor MPN meeting held to that effect. The MPN views such unilateral action as very irresponsible and totally out of line with party processes,” he said.

According to him, the MPN is supposed to meet once a month and all elected 31 branch chiefs throughout Sarawak are members representing their respective divisions.

“However, there has been no meeting of MPN since Sept 16 this year. Thus, the decision to cancel the convention does not exist. We fully understand and sympathise with the chairman’s enormous weight of responsibilities on his shoulders as full-time federal minister, MP, ADUN (assemblyman), and chairman of MPN all at once. Some of his chairmanship duties could have been delegated to the wrong people.”

Joshua called upon Baru to give way to enable the appointment of another leader.

“Election is around the corner and we are committed to taking over the state government. Looking at 28 winnable PKR seats, we must heed the president’s instruction since April to present to him the winning strategies, which after eight months is yet for him to receive.We may not sound pleasing but for the sake of the party and all who put their hope on Pakatan Harapan (PH), our heartfelt concern here is genuine. We are only interested to move forward.

“We must call up all branch leaders, rally them, and listen to how they can win their respective seats,” he said.

He added that the information would then be conveyed to MPN Sarawak, Central Leadership Council, and Anwar.

“We will find ways to assist them. This is a very difficult job, but someone among us needs to catch the bull by the horns and get the job done,” he added.

Dr Michael Teo

When contacted earlier, PKR Miri had said it was awaiting the MPN’s approval to hold the convention, despite Dr Teo’s statement on Friday that the convention would continue.

“Although our chief and MP Dr Michael Teo, at a press conference in Petaling Jaya on Friday, confirmed that the state PKR convention would proceed as scheduled, the party still has to wait for the official approval letter from the Sarawak MPN, including the programme for that day, as Miri is only hosting the event,” a branch spokesperson said.

Dr Teo is scheduled to chair a meeting tomorrow (Nov 18) to finalise preparations for the one-day convention.

On Friday, Baru had announced the convention would be cancelled to protest deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali being ‘disinvited’ to officiate at the party’s Youth congress in Melaka next month.Besides Baru, the statement was signed by MPN Sarawak deputy chairman Baharuddin Mokhsen, vice-chairman I Willie Mongin, vice-chairman II Nicholas Bawin Anggat, vice-chairman III Voon Shiak Ni, vice-chairman V Nurhanim Mokhsen, PKR national vice-president Ali Biju, and PKR Sarawak election director See Chee How.