Politics

Bouquets and brickbats in Penang for PKR sec-gen

PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (right) with Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng during the appointment ceremony.

PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (right) with Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng during the appointment ceremony.

KUALA LUMPUR – Dec 5, 2017: You can’t please everyone – as PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail knows well by now.

Pakatan Harapan leaders are not on the same page over the appointment as the strategic adviser of Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.

“Awkward move”,  “timely”, “self-serving” are some of the remarks made.

Ironically or expectedly, the barbed wire had come from his own colleagues in PKR while the bouquets are from the DAP who commended the appointment saying that he is the right man for the job.

Saifuddin was sworn in before Lim after he was appointed as the DAP chief minister’s strategic adviser on Wednesday. The announcement of the appointment was posted on the chief minister’s Facebook page the same day.

While some have concurred that Saifuddin could assist Lim in securing the state for Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the next general election, a PKR leader has unswervingly rebuffed the move.

Its Wanita chief Zuraida Kamarudin told The Mole that she is strongly against the appointment, while hailing it as an “awkward move.”

“Precisely, it’s morally awkward for a PKR leader to work with the DAP.

“It would be less morally awkward if he (Saifuddin) is not the secretary-general of the party, not to mention that he is newly appointed to take over the post from Rafizi Ramli,” she added.

Zuraida, who is also Ampang MP, however refused to comment further on her claim.

On the contrary, PKR Penanti MP Dr Norlela Ariffin thinks that the move is fitting to help galvanise the Malays support towards the state government.

“It’s good to have PKR higher-ranking leader as a representative here, taking into account that Penang is indeed one of PH’s strongholds.

“Saifuddin as the secretary-general of the party has plenty of experience and political prowess, and he is the right person to help us to get closer to the Malay community.”

On concerns if the move shows that the DAP is buying out PKR to gain foothold in the opposition coalition, Dr Norlela affirmed that such a claim is out of question.

“We do need a higher-ranking leader to assist the state government. But, to say that the chief minister is doing so to take control of the coalition is rather fictitious. The appointment will strengthen our alliance, not break it.”

DAP Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim agreed, stressing that Saifuddin is chosen due to his capability.

“We appointed him based on his performance over other things. Being the former deputy Umno Youth leader, leader, Saifuddin can contribute to good ideas and consult the chief minister.

“Whereas as a component member of the party, we (DAP) are not interested in interfering  in PKR internal matters, so, it is ridiculous to think that we are buying PKR out,” he added.

Some political observers have however suggested that the appointment will ensure DAP gain a stronger foothold in PH.

Prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin in “Malaysia Today” singled out DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang for initiating the move “to control half of the PKR.”

In his latest posting, the blogger wrote: “Pribumi Bersatu and Parti Amanah Negara are lame ducks. The only other party in Pakatan worth talking about, other than DAP, is PKR. But Pribumi Bersatu’s chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad will soon control PKR once its vice-president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali ousts its president, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and takes over.

“So, before that happens, Kit Siang wants to control half of PKR through Saifuddin. And that happened yesterday without many people realising what was going on.”

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Amira Nutfah Zulkifli

Amira Nutfah Zulkifli

A budding journalist. Aside of struggling to understand Malaysian political scenario, she is inspired to study and fight for women's emancipation. Above the rest; she simply loves her nation.