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Glitches, low turnout mar Malaysia party PKR’s polls

THE STRAITS TIMES – Technical glitches and low member turnout have marred internal polls of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s party, delaying announcement of the voting results.

Dozens of leaders of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) threw their hat into the ring for key positions in a bid to rejuvenate the opposition party and reverse a sharp drop in public support ahead of Malaysia’s next general election.

But with only eight per cent of members turning up to vote, the effort is off to a weak start.
Political pundits have said that internal bickering led to party members, numbering more than a million in total, declining to vote in the election.

Several weaknesses with the party’s application that was used for online voting were also raised, including the ability of people to vote multiple times on behalf of others.

“Voters are not given a slip which can limit people to vote only once. The central election committee officials only check the details of members and allow them to vote without observation. This… raises the risk of fraud as a voter can… vote repeatedly on behalf of others,” PKR Vice-President Rafizi Ramli was quoted as saying by news portal Malaysiakini.

Eight divisions of Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR in four states will have to redo their elections.
PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

Due to technical glitches and miscommunication issues, eight PKR divisions in four states would have to redo their elections.

Rafizi, a former Member of Parliament (MP) who played a crucial role in raising public awareness of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, is vying for the number two position of deputy president.

He is up against incumbent secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, an Anwar ally.

Rafizi returned to politics after being on hiatus since 2019, following consecutive poor performances by PKR and the larger Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in recent state elections.

He is pushing for PKR and PH to stop seeking new partners ahead of the next general election, while Anwar and his allies have been pushing for a “big tent” approach.

Rafizi had previously claimed that Saifuddin was the main mover behind discussions in 2020 and 2021 with leaders from rival party Umno, namely Najib Razak and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, to negotiate for their support to get Anwar elected as prime minister.

This was denied by Saifuddin, who said that these decisions were collectively made by the party leaders and not him.

“The dilemma is Rafizi appears to be more popular outside the party, while Saifuddin is the reverse. A Saiffuddin win will mean status quo for PKR, which is going downhill,” Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun told The Straits Times.

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