By Chew Lip Song and Emma Victoria
THE recent spate of resignations from Sarawak PKR is attributed to the leadership feud in the party and not disillusionment from the grassroots over state rights issues.
A party insider said the tussle between PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his ex-deputy Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, leading to the latter’s sacking in late February, had spilled over to the state.
“Those aligned to Azmin then felt it’s best they leave the party and cite issues like MA63 as reasons for quitting. They were just using this as justification. They wanted to leave with a bang,” the source said.
On Saturday, PKR Stampin branch committee announced an en masse resignation, citing PKR’s failure to take seriously Sarawak’s autonomy under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“To them (PKR central leadership), justice is merely a slogan to fish for votes,” the committee had said in a statement.
Meanwhile, state PKR chief Larry Sng said he was confident of rebuilding the party and winning big in the state elections as those who had left were no longer in tune with the federal and state leadership.
In fact, the party had now identified more potential candidates to take up leadership positions at the grassroots level, Sng added.
“It is estimated that over 200 grassroots leaders and members in Sarawak quit PKR over the weekend. But, what is more important is that the majority of the members are still with us.
“I wish to close this chapter in PKR history as soon as all those aligned with the previous leadership have left,” he told The New Sarawak.
“Many of them do not want to be in PKR Sarawak, simply because they feel disenfranchised with the leadership and don’t sense that they have any room to survive and grow.
“Others may feel that the principles and objectives of the party no longer remain true. Of course there will be a small minority who will leave for money and positions but this is no more than a handful,” he said.
Sng, who is Julau MP said he is not seeking for any positions and glamour but would like to get the job done and deliver a bigger win for PKR in the coming state election.
Meanwhile, Sarawak PKR information chief Abun Sui said the party was unperturbed by the series of resignations.
“In fact, it will make Sarawak PKR stronger as we will have new blood to replace those who left in order to bring the party forward as we prepare for the coming state elections,” he said.
On Saturday, the entire committee members of Stampin division quit. Mas Gading chairman Boniface Willy anak Tumek and deputy chairman Francis Teron Kadap also left the party in protest against the sacking of Batu Lintang Assemblyman See Chee How from the party.
The party’s women chief Catherine Jok Uvang also announced her resignation from the party, claiming that the party no longer upholds justice and equality for all.
It was learnt that those who left are keen to join Parti Sarawak Bersatu, formed by the state former finance minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh.