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By Arfaeza A Aziz

Leadership transition details included in Keadilan, PRM merger MoU

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the merger of Parti Keadilan Nasional and Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) which will be sealed tomorrow will include details on leadership transition to avoid any power struggle in the new party.

The merger will pave the way for the formation of a new party which will be called Parti Keadilan Rakyat or its shorter version Keadilan.

Keadilan secretary-general Sahri Bahri (photo) told malaysiakini that he did not foresee any power struggle as the MoU has stated clearly that all major decisions by the transitional leadership will be made by consensus.

He said nobody should speculate on the party leadership as it will only damage the spirit of the MoU which symbolises the political commitment of both parties to merge as they share a lot of similarities in terms of idealism, vision and struggle.

"We are of the view that we will begin this new chapter on an equal footing," he said in a telephone interview.

Sahri also said the undertakings in the MoU will take effect after Keadilan obtains two-third majority from its delegates during the coming extraordinary general meeting (EGM) scheduled for October this year.

"The EGM will amend the party's constitution to enable the establishment of the new party. We will submit an application to the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

"While waiting for ROS' approval, the transition period will make room for assimilation of both parties. Once the approval is obtained than the constitution will take its due process which may include an open party election," he said.

Like a marriage

Echoing a similar view, PRM vice-president R Sivarasa (photo) is also confident that there will be no power struggle in the new party.

"A merger is like a marriage. In a marriage, there will be attractions and risks and both sides appreciate them. The most important thing is that we are both committed in the re-arrangement that will take place.

"We understand that a new party will mean that some leaders on either side will no longer play a role while some will proceed to play their roles. So leadership will be a matter of give and take," he told malaysiakini.

Keadilan supreme council member Khalid Jaafar said the MoU has ironed out whatever disagreements faced during the early stage of the merger proposal and expressed his confidence that the merger will get full support in the EGM.

"I don't think there will be any strong objection against the merger because the MoU is very clear on all the issues concerned like logo, party policies and all disagreements have been settled," he said.

He said the delegations will definitely see the positive impact of the merger as there will be an additional force to ensure the success of their struggles.

When asked of the changes, he said the new party will bear Keadilan's present logo with the addition of red stripes on both sides of the logo.

"The structure of the supreme council will consist of a total of 60 persons which include the president, deputy president, seven vice-presidents including youth and women chiefs, secretary-general and four assistant secretary-generals," he said.

The party leadership transition process will start with meetings between the two presidents on the composition of its supreme council and any decision will be submitted to their respective political bureaus who will then refer to the delegates before any party election is conducted.

Wan Azizah as president

Asked if this means there is uncertainty on the identity of the leader, Khalid said: "In theory we don't know who will be the president of the new party. But in de facto, it is understood that Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (photo) will remain as the president."

He said that this was his personal view, adding that he does not expect his colleagues in PRM to be interested in contesting or challenging Wan Azizah.

Khalid was also confident that there will be no power struggle in the election of the top posts in the new party.

Meanwhile, PRM president Dr Syed Husin Ali and Dr Wan Azizah Ismail said the MOU will facilitate the merger process and they are both satisfied that most of differences raised earlier have been settled.