PKR polls: Loyalty to PKR president not an issue for voters, says Rafizi

10 May 2022 01:28pm
The ‘Pentas Berani Semuka’ programme organised by Sinar Harian starts at 3pm tomorrow and will be aired live across all of Sinar Harian’s platforms.
The ‘Pentas Berani Semuka’ programme organised by Sinar Harian starts at 3pm tomorrow and will be aired live across all of Sinar Harian’s platforms.

SHAH ALAM - May 11 this year will be a defining moment in the country's political history when the two candidates gunning for the highest leadership position of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) are set to share the stage to present their ideas and strategies.

The face-off between the two candidates for PKR’s deputy president Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution and Rafizi Ramli at the ‘Pentas Berani Semuka’ programme organised by Sinar Harian starts at 3pm tomorrow and would be aired live across all of Sinar Harian’s platforms.

It will allow Saifuddin and Rafizi, the PKR secretary-general and vice-president respectively, to test their ability in debating current issues, questions of leadership, and PKR’s future.

Seen as an indication of who was the most qualified senior leader to take over the helm of the party's leadership from its President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the debate stage would also evaluate the credibility of both candidates in proposing their ideas and strategy.

The selection of PKR's number two leader was viewed as crucial in restoring PKR's and Pakatan Harapan's (PH) glory after losing four state elections in a row.

Sinar Premium talked to Rafizi to find out his hope for the internal party election and his preparations.

How do you see the momentum of the PKR election campaign for the 2022-2025’s term so far?

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RAFIZI: When campaigning, we would monitor responses from social media programmes and the ‘Jelajah Yakini Rakyat’ held over the last three weeks when campaigning. In terms of the public’s feedback, I think the momentum we received this time is the best I've ever experienced since running for the party election in 2010.

That gives a good boost, but at the same time the motivation in the PKR election is not the same as when we are campaigning during a general election. Hence, we need to look at other factors such strategy on how it is arranged by the warlord or certain leaders to win the party election.

However, I hope that we will be able to deliver the message directly to voters, allowing them to make decisions without relying on the instructions or influence of those in power.

How many states have you explored during the election campaign and how many remaining states will you tour?

Over the past three weeks, we have toured up to 11 states, with only three states remaining. After the Aidilfitri celebration, we will go to Sarawak, Sabah and the campaign will end in Pahang. The grassroots’ acceptance this time was the best I have ever received due to two factors.

First, the grassroots have long desired to reignite the fighting spirit. So, when they lose four state elections in a row, they need to uplift their spirits.

So during this campaign period, we did not hold it at hotels but talks sessions were held, just like how we approached regular voters in general elections.

Secondly, I think the message we were trying to convey coincide with the grassroots’ views. They were very sensitive to not accept the opposition’s ‘big tent’ proposal.

What is your biggest challenge during the PKR election campaign this time?

For me, the biggest challenge or difference I felt this time was the issue of loyalty or intention did not arise. In the 2018 election, we knew the former PKR Deputy President Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and from the beginning, we knew his intention was to control the party.

This time, no personal questions arose for neither I nor Saifuddin. The party knew that we are loyal and our commitment to the party, despite our differing views.

Only this time, the difference is more on the strategy we are bringing to the party in order to strengthen it. This is due to our different characteristics, Saifuddin was known as a negotiator and I am a firm person, not willing to take any shortcut to reach my goal.

How do you see your chance of victory in this internal election, you are going against a candidate considered more loyal to PKR President’s institution?

For me, the context of loyalty differs for each individual. For example, I am better known as a loyalist, but firm with my own stand.

There have been many big party decisions in the last 10 years, I am known to have different views from the president but that did not affect my work or commitment to the formation of the ideal PKR’s fight. So, I think the party members do not see Saifuddin’s and my loyalty to the PKR president as an important issue.

As the election campaign went on, I received feedback that the question of who was more loyal to the PKR President was not on their minds.

So for me what was more important is for the party members’ demand to see who among us can present a better campaign strategy plan to convince the people and that should be the focus of this election.

How do you see the impact of ‘Berani Semuka’ programme organised by Sinar Harian among the candidates for PKR Deputy President post can benefit the people and PKR members?

I think maybe the public does not understand how significant the organisation of such programme could be.

As I recalled, this was the first time in the country's political history that two senior leaders in a major political party in Malaysia were set to debate and present ideas in the internal party election.

If this could be put into practice, it will encourage and nurture ideas for all parties. Malaysia's problem was that we have reached the level of systemic crisis including the government, governance and economy.

Hence, system issues could not be fixed simply by changing the individual to another one with the same ideology.

It needs to be stressed that for all political parties, one of the most important qualities and criteria for leading is the proliferation of ideas.

If we succeed in doing that, I hope that it could convince the public to put pressure on other parties especially Umno to participate in presenting ideas before qualifying to be next government.