Monday, February 22, 2010

Pakatan Moves To Tighten Discipline

By Clara Chooi (Malaysian Insider)

PETALING JAYA, Feb 22 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim moved today to contain the fallout from squabbling among Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers by announcing the revival of plans to quickly set up a disciplinary panel for the opposition coalition.

His announcement comes in the wake of open criticisms against DAP by lawmakers in his PKR party.

The show of open dissent has open up the coalition to attacks from its rivals in Barisan Nasional (BN) who have criticised PR of being an unstable coalition incapable of leading any government.

Following a PR leadership council meeting today, Anwar said that the coalition’s secretariat was also willing to provide better avenues for members to voice their grievances against the leadership.

While maintaining that there were enough opportunities for disgruntled MPs or state assemblymen to voice their views, the PKR de facto leader said that if members felt otherwise, the PR leadership was willing to improve itself.

He noted however that rebel MPs like Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin and Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng should have maintained more decorum when voicing their opinions against PR leaders.

“The impression created by some of the MPs that they cannot criticise for example the Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng or the Selangor Mentri Besar (Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim) is not true.

“There is a weekly committee for MPs to air their views where they can bring up any grievances against any leader whether from PAS, DAP or PKR. However, if they feel we need to expand that, then we can. I have no issues,” he told a press conference.

Anwar added that at present, the PR had at least seven ongoing committees involving MPs and non-MPs.

“Then each party has its respective leadership meetings. The MPs have a forum too and the PR secretariat itself has about five to six committees.

“The GST issue, for example, we sit and discuss and some agree and some disagree. However if they feel there is need for improvement, we are ready to do so,” he said.

On rebel MPs like Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin and Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng, Anwar spoke of the need for decorum.

“We are not stopping them from voicing their opinions but they should be more patient. When you call a leader a ‘dictator’ for example... that is not good,” he said.

He was referring to Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim, who has since left PKR, and whose relentless criticisms against Lim had sparked off much controversy.

Zahrain left the party on Feb 12 to turn independent and claimed to have lost confidence in Lim and party leader Anwar himself.

Tan, who had joined Zahrain in his open criticism of Lim, is set to attend the PKR board disciplinary board proceedings tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Anwar said that the PR secretariat had decided on reviving its plan to set up the PR disciplinary committee, which would be chaired by PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah.

“Sivarasa will represent all three parties in the PR and will report to the secretariat. The committee will be tasked to handle disciplinary matters especially those that concern the three parties,” said Anwar.

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