Will this be Mahathir’s finest moment?


December 17, 2018

Will this be Mahathir’s finest moment?

by Kim Quek

https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/456486

 

COMMENT | I refer to Rais Hussin’s article “Mahathir’s resignation is not an option” which is a response to my own “Mahathir must step down to save Reformasi.”

Reviewing the above two articles, I would contend that the issues at hand are: The potentially devastating impact on Pakatan Harapan arising from the anticipated mass migration of defecting UMNO MPs to Bersatu, and whether Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad should step down at this juncture.

Defecting UMNO MPs

What motivates UMNO MPs to defect in the first place?Considering that the intention to defect occurred so soon after losing the election, the probability of this being motivated by a drastic change of political ideology is almost nil.

Such speedy decisions to switch camp from the opposition to the ruling coalition are invariably prompted by the desire to seek greener pastures, as well as to escape criminal investigation and prosecution, as almost all of them have been tainted by corruption during the corrupt rule of UMNOo and Najib Abdul Razak. They are pure opportunists, and many are intended escapees from the law.

Their massive influx would reflect the complete lack of integrity and principles of Harapan in general and Bersatu in particular.

Fatally for Harapan, it will be taken as a grand sell-out of the electorate, who had voted Harapan to power precisely because they had been repulsed by the despicable UMNO leadership.

And whatever Bersatu may say, it can not remove the widespread perception that it is implicated in such mass movement of defectors.

Former minister Hamzah Zainuddin’s declaration of 36 UMNO MPs having signed a pledge of loyalty to Mahathir is the latest incident, among many others, that has given fuel to such perception.

Mahathir as a reformist PM

What is the root cause of UMNO’s decadence, which subsequently leads to its almost instant virtual collapse?

Answer: racism and corruption. The former breeds the latter, in addition to fracturing the country along racial lines, breeding mediocrity and brain drain which have caused our prolonged economic malaise – all under UMNO’s hegemonic rule.

The Reformasi movement founded by Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 was precisely intended to overcome all these vices, which includes wiping out corruption, restoring justice and equality, reforming the tattered institutions and restoring the rule of law, thereby putting the country on the path of healthy national integration and robust economic growth.

The Harapan coalition has therefore an enormous task at hand. In addition to reforming the broken institutions, the impaired governance and restoring the rule of law, it must at the same time tackle racism which is the mother of these evils.

Among these urgent tasks, institutional reforms and reform of biased mindsets on race and religion of the majority of our populace are basic, the success of which should serve as a solid foundation upon which ‘New Malaysia’ will thrive.

It goes without saying that to successfully implement such a heavily reform-loaded agenda, the leader must be a reformist of deep conviction of such reforms.

In this respect, Mahathir’s background would make him ill-fitted as leader of this reformist coalition, considering the fact that most of his current task would involve dismantling or reforming or rebuilding the governance infrastructures which he built during his long reign as UMNOPresident and Prime Minister.

And this is reflected in his delay or refusal to repeal many repressive laws, to abolish racist institutions, to reveal comprehensive recommendations for institutional reforms.

It is also reflected in his lack of enthusiasm to reform the biased mindset on race and religion, and the lack of action to gradually and strategically phase out pervasive racial discriminations and reintroducing meritocracy in education, state-controlled enterprises and public service.

While it is unfair to demand full performance on such reform agenda from Mahathir, in view of his political background, the same cannot be said of Anwar, founder and leader of the Reformasi movement and successor-designate to Mahathir.

Anwar would be a shoo-in for this task. Apart from being the architect of the reform concepts of this movement, he was also instrumental in formulating the election manifestos for the 12th and 13th general elections, which later served as a blueprint for the manifesto which helped Harapan to win a sweeping victory in the 14th general election.

Anwar has built up the movement from cradle to its present maturity, for which he has endured incomparable sufferings and political persecution almost continuously throughout the past two decades of struggles.

He is not only the most knowledgeable person on such reforms, but he also has the grit, guts and gumption to see the reforms through to their fruition.

Mahathir’s finest moment?

Mahathir is a politician extraordinaire. He is unique in modern history. After autocratically ruling the country for 22 years, he returned to the political scene many years later to lead a reformist coalition and succeeded in overthrowing the decadent regime which had ruled uninterrupted since independence 61 years ago and crowned himself Prime Minister at the incredible age of 93.

He has made many mistakes in the past, but he has also made the greatest contribution to the country – dethroning the almost unbeatable, corrupted-to-the core autocracy, thus giving the nation a new breath of life.

However, his greatest challenge is yet to come.

At this moment, when the mass of UMNO defectors are at his doorstep ready to boost up his relatively small party, will he embrace them to strengthen his hand to rule to his heart’s content?

Or will he have the wisdom at this final hour to recognise the sacrosanct call of history – relinquish power now, and let his reformist successor lead the next leg of the nation’s journey?

The former choice would almost certainly cause the coalition to lose credibility with its supporting electorate and cause dissension within the coalition and demoralise the entire reform movement.

While the latter choice would give a fresh impetus to the current reform agenda that would enable the nation to scale new heights and make this his crowning moment that would seal his status as founder of the ‘New Malaysia’.

Whatever Mahathir decides, it may mark another turning point for the country.


KIM QUEK is the author of the banned book The March to Putrajaya, and bestseller Where to, Malaysia?

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Thinking beyond Harapan’s Disruptive Politics


December 16, 2018

Thinking beyond Harapan’s Disruptive Politics

Opinion  |  by Azly Rahman
www. malaysiakini.com

Image result for anwar ibrahim

COMMENT | Like many Malaysians, left simultaneously bedazzled and fuming by desperate politicians jumping ship and welcomed aboard by those on the sinking ‘Bahtera Merdeka’, I was angry. I still am.

I wrote a series of social media posts to register my disgust towards the nature of Pakatan Harapan’s politics, and how this is going to lead the coalition and the country towards disruption.

The years leading to the next general election will see politicians busy focusing on how to kill each other politically, if not sending each other to jail, rather than helping communities. Time and resources to do good, whether utilitarian or ontological, will be wasted.

What exactly should be our agenda? What do the people want from those elected into office and paid handsomely to talk and argue in Parliament? What was the promise and how do we reclaim the agenda?

But first, some of my notes of disgust:

  • Disruptive politics at its disruptive best – this is what Pakatan Harapan is offering its voters who are now devastated.
  • Politics based on lifelines and the avoidance of life in prison is politics not alive. Dead as deadwood.
  • Just when Malaysians are about to learn what hope for reform means, we have the gates open for pirates who abandoned the mothership.
  • How nervous will leaders of Harapan component parties be now about the future of their jobs, as well as when the rebranded Umno emerges?
  • The question is: can a fragile democracy such as Malaysia afford a zero-opposition policy? That would be crazy.
  • Let the corrupt leave their caves, but close the gates of the sanctuary. Let a strong opposition grow from the ruins of the old.
  • Other parties must preserve integrity at a time when it is for sale. Time to review the coalition.
  • People were angry there were groups that spoiled the votes, like #UndiRosak. Now, are we seeing a damaged government evolving?
  • What then is the difference between the old and the new regime, if the old crooks are invited back, in the name of a two-thirds majority?

Our first move

Where do we go from here – from the premise of change and the reality of disruption to a properly framed course of action? What ideas do we need to push in order for our nation to progress along the path of our common dream?

This is what we need to see evolving: brand-new political will, radical political change, an overhaul of the system and a fresh new mandate.

We need a prison complex big enough to incarcerate the long corrupt; a plan to redistribute wealth, dismantle educational apartheid, rewrite Malay and Malaysian history, and rethread the moral fibre of security personnel.

We need the widespread arrest of political tyrants, a restructuring of the casino capitalist economy, the restructuring of local government, and a clampdown on racist hate groups.

We need a return to the rule of law, to an agricultural society, to a cooperative system, as well as experiment with a radically new form of communal living.

We must dismantle systems that allow corporate giants to continue to prey upon the weak, strengthen labour, re-educate political officials on management, ethics, and political philosophy, and punish polluters and the destroyers of forests.

We need to separate religion and state, do away with useless cultural and religious rituals, and restructure society based on the principles of radical multiculturalism and the celebration of transcultural philosophies.

We need to cut down on TV time and introduce the reading of the great works of arts, humanities, literature, and philosophy, as well as curb rhetoric on Islamic or any religious state.

We need all these and more to turn the system on its ugly head.

Image result for tunku abdul rahman

As revered founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman – himself a victim of a political coup by racialised politicians – said in 1957 when he proclaimed the country’s independence:

”…But while we think of the past, we look forward in faith and hope to the future; from henceforth we are masters of our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility.

“Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour – the creation of a new and sovereign state.

“At this solemn moment, therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.

Indeed, when people believe in the future of their nation, it will be strong. That belief in Malaysia must be rekindled and recreated.

The next agenda

The agenda for true reform must be honoured by the present regime, provided that the component parties come together, study Tunku’s vision, recall what they themselves promised, remove the ills plaguing communitarian and sectarian politics, and the mad spy-versus-spy world in which we scheme against one another and build personal and family empires.

As it is, the scenario does not look good, because we are moving towards yet another form of authoritarianism, don’t-care-for-the-people-ism, plus a whole set of ‘isms’ that are disruptive to what we wish for as an independent nation: sustainability, peace, and social justice.

It is a complex issue for a complex plural nation with complex needs, governed by complex people and a regime not willing to use political will to address such complexities.

Whereas life is quite simple. We feed our needs first, rather than our greed.

Honour your promises, Harapan!


AZLY RAHMAN is an educator, academic, international columnist, and author of seven books available here. He grew up in Johor Bahru and holds a Columbia University doctorate in international education development and Master’s degrees in six areas: education, international affairs, peace studies communication, fiction and non-fiction writing. Twitter @azlyrahman. More writings here.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Did Malaysians vote Harapan for UMNO to rule again?


December 15, 2018

Did Malaysians vote Harapan for UMNO to rule again?

by  Charles Santiago  @ www. malaysiakini.com

 

MP SPEAKS | Party-hopping by Malaysian politicians isn’t anything new. But it raises the question as to whether it’s ethical to do so, as defections are a violation of the people’s mandate.

Having said that, I do understand that using the legislation to curb switching sides may take a whack at a person’s right to freedom of association.

But what’s happening over the last few days in Sabah and further rumoured party-hopping by UMNO politicians to Bersatu are definitely not due to a loss of confidence in its leadership or irreconcilable differences.

It’s out of fear and the need to ensure one doesn’t get nabbed by the anti-graft commission for corruption and abuse of power.

The back-door deals to remain relevant in politics and to stay out of prison are unacceptable and makes a fool of Malaysians who voted in Pakatan Harapan, believing our governance would be transparent and accountable.

We are muddying our administration by receiving tainted and corrupt politicians, who are desperately abandoning a sinking ship for vested interests.

It’s unthinkable that we refuse to use our discretion to swat them away like flies.

The Malaysia Baru or New Malaysia cannot be about wheeling and dealing; it cannot be about strategising for political longevity or dynasty; it cannot be about emboldening one’s political party and it certainly cannot be about favouritism and positioning who sits on the throne next.

We cannot afford to be arrogant just because we won handsomely at the last general election. We are not the kingmakers. The people are.

If we care to listen to the ground, we will hear deafening opposition to receiving UMNO politicians into the Pakatan Harapan fold.

We hear, once too often, that politics is littered with broken relationships and strange bedfellows. As an activist, I always knew that many politicians find manipulative ways to ply their political trade.

But I was hoping that these belonged with the former UMNO-led BN government.

It’s not too late, however, as Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad can still say no to party defections by politicians who believe they can switch from sinners to saints.


CHARLES SANTIAGO is the Klang MP.

The views expressed here


are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Guna’s Take on the Politics of ICERD and Harapan’s Volte-Face


November 27, 2018

Guna’s Take on the Politics of ICERD and Harapan’s Volte-Face

https://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/453556

QUESTION TIME | If we thought that UMNO-style gangster politics is dead and gone with New Malaysia, we have been very sadly mistaken as the recent issue over the ratification of the International Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) shows.

Somehow or other, the ratification of this convention has been taken to be a major attack on the special privileges of bumiputeras, including Malays, resulting in a cacophony of protests by UMNO and PAS, which were rather badly handled by the Harapan government.

It is no such thing.  There are enough safeguards and provisions in the IICERD for the special privileges of bumiputeras to continue and there are countries such as the US which ratified the treaty, saying its own constitution provides for those rights, and if there is any problem, then its constitution will stand supreme against ICERD.

Despite what Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said about having to amend the constitution, which would require a two-thirds majority in Parliament, to ratify Icerd, most expert legal opinion is that there is no such necessity. In fact, Mahathir had said in September at the UN General Assembly that Malaysia would ratify six UN conventions, which includes Icerd.

The about-turn that Harapan made over Icerd is substantive for one very important reason: it has basically submitted to the blackmail of UMNO and PAS who had threatened not just demonstrations but violence. Demonstration organisers talked openly about creating another May 13 in videos that went viral, raising needless alarm and concern.

Image result for mahathir's voltre-face

The mute Malaysian Women Libbers

That will only encourage them to come up again and again with gangster-style tactics of violence and bloodbath when every issue of importance is debated. Capitulation to them now over an important issue in Malaysian politics will only make them raise their voices higher and their threats more severe in future.

What was terribly surprising was the silence and muted response by Harapan leaders over an issue which had been twisted and turned by the opposition UMNO and PAS into a highly explosive racial and religious one.

Social redress

There was no attempt to explain that ratifying the ICERD was in no way against bumiputera rights but was aimed at endorsing universal principles against any form of racial discrimination. ICERD specifically excludes special privileges for any community as a means of social redress for as long as that is necessary.

There are some who say that the Federal Constitution sets no limit on special privileges, but even that is not an issue as Icerd can be ratified subject to the primacy of a country’s own constitution as the US did when it ratified Icerd in 1994.

These concerns are addressed and allayed comprehensively in this article by respected constitutional scholar Shad Saleem Faruqi who deals with all the major legal and constitutional issues over ratifying ICERD.

 

Here are the concluding remarks of his article: “ Even if ratified by the executive, Icerd cannot displace Article 3 (Islam) (of the constitution), Article 153 (special position of the Malays and natives) and Article 181 (prerogatives of Malay Rulers). This is due to the legal fact that our concept of ‘law’ is defined narrowly in ArticIe 160(2) and does not include international law.

“The constitutional position on the ICERD is, therefore, this: Even if the ICERD is ratified by the executive, it is not law unless incorporated into a parliamentary Act. Even if so legislated, it is subject to the supreme constitution’s Articles 3, 153 and 181. Unless these Articles are amended by a special two-thirds majority and the consent of the Conference of Rulers and the Governors of Sabah and Sarawak, the existing constitutional provisions remain in operation.

“The ICERD is not a law but only a pole star for action. Its ideals cannot invalidate national laws. The agitation against it is contrived for political purposes and perceptive Malaysians must not allow themselves to be exploited by politicians.”

Unfortunately, that is exactly what Harapan has done by capitulating to UMNO-PAS and others threats of violence over Icerd at a demonstration to be organised on Dec 8. Now that demonstration is going to be a celebration of their “success” – how pitiable.

Here is the Prime Minister’s Office’s statement on the matter: “The Pakatan Harapan government will not ratify CERD. “The government will continue to defend the Federal Constitution, in which lies the social contract agreed to by representatives of all races during the forming of the nation.”

Narrow agenda

Image result for mahathir's voltre-face

A Janus-faced Malay Politician

“It was Mahathir, after all, who said point blank to the Malays that they should stop supporting UMNO because its leader was involved in the largest kleptocracy the world has known via 1MDB where RM42 billion was lost. Surely through proper information and education, most Malays can be made to realise that ratifying ICERD does not affect their rights or the rights of other bumiputeras.

But instead, the silence of Harapan leaders and their lack of defense of the reason why ICERD was to be ratified as part of the intentions voiced in their manifesto led to this issue systematically being used to whip up sentiment, spiralling up to the defence of Malay rights which it is not”.–Gunasegaram

That pathetic statement follows upon Mahathir’s volte-face over signing ICERD, saying the untruth that a constitutional amendment is needed to ratify the convention, and taking the easy way out instead of explaining to the Malays, who appear to be the only bumiputra group opposed to the ratification, what the real situation is.

It was Mahathir, after all, who said point blank to the Malays that they should stop supporting UMNO because its leader was involved in the largest kleptocracy the world has known via 1MDB where RM42 billion was lost. Surely through proper information and education, most Malays can be made to realise that ratifying ICERD does not affect their rights or the rights of other bumiputeras.

But instead, the silence of Harapan leaders and their lack of defense of the reason why ICERD was to be ratified as part of the intentions voiced in their manifesto led to this issue systematically being used to whip up sentiment, spiralling up to the defence of Malay rights which it is not.

And handing a victory on a platter to the gangster politics of UMNO, PAS and others who play up racial, religious and royalty sentiments and threaten violence, not in furtherance of Malay rights, but their own selfish, narrow agenda of capturing Malay votes and support.

It is more than a sorry state of affairs for it might lead to pressure on the entire Harapan reform agenda if a simple ratification of the ICERD can be turned into such a serious non-issue.


P GUNASEGARAM wonders how many more manifesto promises Harapan will break. E-mail: t.p.guna@gmail.com

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

When it comes to ICERD, New Malaysia is the Old Racist Devil again


November 25,2018

When it comes to ICERD, New Malaysia is the Old Racist Devil again–BACK TO UMNO 1946. This time with PAS

By S Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

I said the old devils are at it again,

And it’s right now like it was back then,

The old devils are at it again.

– William Elliot Whitmore, ‘Old Devils

Image result for icerd malaysia

COMMENT | In an interview, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng was reported to have said “the situation needed to be pacified, it should not stop people from continuing to express their views on ICERD (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination).”

Really? So, let me get this straight.

Image result for icerd malaysia

ICERD–MY  WAY or JUST HIT The North-South Highway

 DAP, which has not given its official stand on the ratification of ICERD, wants people to express their views on this issue?  DAP, who routinely mocks MCA for being subservient to UMNO wants people to express their views even though it has not declared its own position on the issue after the cabinet decided (by consensus) not to ratify Icerd?

DAP, the purveyors of the Bangsa Malaysia Kool-Aid, wants people to express their views, even though it has warned the Chinese community (and others) to be wary until after the December 8 anti-ICERD celebration?

So, the Finance Minister of this country, who has made these tirades about speaking the ‘truth’ even though it is economically or politically disadvantageous to do so, suddenly seems to have lost his ability to speak when it comes to the issue of ICERD.

But don’t worry folks, I am sure you will speak up on this issue, even when Lim, if asked to comment, will just deflect, leaving you holding the bag.  Another DAP leader, says this country needs a vision which highlights the virtue of the middle ground.

When politicians babble on about the middle ground, what they forget to tell you is that it is contextual. Here in this country, when I talk to people about what they think the middle ground is, they speak of middle Malaysia with two definitions.

Image result for icerd malaysia

The first is the social contract. It is not a real document but rather it is an unspoken understanding. The middle ground is that there are policies and ideologies in place that benefit the majority, and as long as minorities can exist comfortably, albeit with limited freedoms, they must not question the inequalities of the system, even if that system which claims to “uplift” the majority is in reality detrimental to the community.

The second definition was borne out of the political turmoil that split the Malay community when Anwar Ibrahim was ejected from the UMNO paradise. Or at least, that’s the narrative that we are most familiar with.  This middle ground is defined by concepts like equality, secularism and numerous other progressive ideas championed by the urban educated electorate.

So when people talk of Bangsa Malaysia for instance, they are really talking about the idea that everyone is equal in law and the aspirations to certain fundamental freedoms that people in other countries take for granted.

Here’s the thing though, ICERD was that vision of a middle ground that Pakatan Harapan claimed fidelity to. It is in their manifesto and the rhetoric of the more outspoken members of its coalition.

Rational (Harapan-aligned) critics of ICERD did not make the argument that the treaty would destroy the Malay community because they could not point to anything that did that.

What they argued was that the ratification of ICERD would be politically disadvantageous – or so they claim – and that the present government would lose its credentials as protectors of race and religion. This neatly falls into the first definition of the middle ground.

The reality is that ICER was a symbol and a declaration which is actually a baseline for functional democracies for the second definition. The religious far-right who oppose Icerd did so because they believed in the supremacy of their race and religion. What Icerd did was to say everyone should be equal.

Threats of violence work

By not ratifying Icerd, the government did two things. First, it legitimised the views of people like PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang. This really does not bother me. Hadi is the politically incorrect face of Malay supremacy.

As I said earlier – “The funny thing is that state governments controlled by the opposition bend over backwards to accommodate Muslim preoccupations and have to continuously defend themselves against charges of racism and yet the mainstream Malay establishment does not disavow someone like Hadi.”

Think of it this way. Has any Malay-Muslim Harapan politician come out and say that Hadi is wrong when it comes to issues of race and religion? Have any of these politicians offered an antithetical view of Hadi’s numerous toxic narratives?

Sure, some political operatives have made meek protestations and gingerly attempted to offer a counterview, but nobody has had the cojones to say Hadi’s view of Islam is wrong.

So I am not so worried about the first point because the foundation of mainstream Malay politics is racial supremacy, but what has happened over the years is that mainstream Malay power structures have done a reasonable job in balancing Malay and non-Malay expectations so we did not turn into just another failed Islamic state.

The second point is far more dangerous. When Harapan rejected ICERD, they sent a message to the religious far-right that their threats of violence work.Now, some would say, hasn’t this always been the case? No, this time is different because Harapan, which claimed to be a progressive force, caved in to the religious far-right.

This was not the UMNO decades-long hegemon playing to the gallery. This was a supposed multiracial coalition telling the racial and religious far-right that they were afraid to confront them even though they had federal power.

It sent a signal that the Harapan government could be brought to its knees when the issues of race and religion are used. The problem here is that the racial and religious far-right could turn every issue into a religious or racial issue and by attrition, bring down a democratically-elected government.

If this sounds scary, it really isn’t. What the Harapan government should do is determine which kind of middle ground they want to occupy. This would mean jettisoning those ideas which they have long promulgated to rile up the base.

Chin Tong is wrong when he talks about a non-Malay periphery electorate wanting to fight fire with fire. What they want – and I doubt they are a periphery – is for Harapan to occupy the second definition of the middle ground. This puts them in conflict with those who view the first definition as pragmatic and conducive to maintaining power in this system.

Harapan, and the DAP specifically, has to find its scrotal sac and define the middle ground even if it means acknowledging that there is no new Malaysia, only a BN Redux.


S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

 

Rafizi Ramli: I conceded defeat for the greater good


November 17, 2018

Rafizi Ramli: I conceded defeat for the greater good

By http://www.malaysiakini.com

PKR POLLS | Rafizi Ramli said he conceded defeat to Mohamed Azmin Ali in the PKR Deputy Presidency race, despite having reasons to appeal, for the greater good of the party.

Rafizi Ramli: Be honest with yourself and admit you lost to Economics Minister Azmin Ali. Learn to accept the choice of PKR members and fall in line.–Din Merican

In a lengthy statement this evening, Rafizi said he would not have suffered the same impact as Azmin had the latter lost the race.

“He is a senior minister, a two-term incumbent and former Menteri Besar. Losing to an unemployed person will force him to disappear from the political arena,” said Rafizi. In view of this, Rafizi said it was unlikely that Azmin’s supporters would have taken defeat easily.

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Economics Minister Dato Seri Azmin Ali  defeats Rafizi Ramli

Throughout the statement, Rafizi mentioned four times that Azmin’s winning margin was only two percent of the total votes cast.

“The election result is very clear. Azmin’s popular vote is only 51 percent – that’s a two percent margin over mine. It reflects the (diametric) directions (in the party) which are equally strong and important.

“The message being sent by the members, which allowed Azmin – a senior minister, incumbent of eight years and former Menteri Besar – to win with less than two percent (margin), is a message which he has to reflect upon,” said Rafizi.

Given that the winning margin was so small, Rafizi said that the many irregularities he had raised in the past – unfair handling of the elections, missing votes, “data wiping” in Julau and the disruption of Internet connections, among others – were reasons to hold a fresh election, but he didn’t pursue it.

“I have a strong case to insist on fresh elections … However, I am aware that the interest of the party and our struggle was above all. “We offer ourselves (as candidates) to serve the public … If the party is embroiled in a protracted feud, then it contradicts our purpose, which is to serve,” he said.

He said that, for example, had he pursued fresh elections for the Julau division and won, which he was confident that individuals such as Sarawak PKR information chief Vernon Albert Kedit would have lodged a report with the Registrar of Societies and brought the matter to court.

During the election on November 10, the unofficial results indicated that some 1,600 members from the Julau division had voted in favour of Rafizi over Azmin, who received about 240 votes.

Rafizi had claimed that the tablets used for the e-voting system were compromised and demanded fresh elections. The elections committee (JPP) head Rashid Din said that this was not true and instead accused Rafizi of having a case of sour grapes after failing to mobilise members to vote.

Had the dispute over the party elections continued this weekend, when the party was holding its national congress, it would only bring the new PKR President and Prime Minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim into disrepute, said Rafizi.

Looking ahead, Rafizi said his next mission was to meet PKR grassroots in order to help them organise themselves. He also pledged to set up a co-operative to help PKR members who “did not benefit from this struggle”.

He also thanked supporters from across the country who helped him campaign for free. “I do not have any (government) positions and I am not wealthy enough to pay you all, but you all served as volunteers,” he said.

Rafizi will speak as the outgoing PKR Vice-President during the party’s national congress in Shah Alam, Selangor on Sunday.