A bewildering choice to jettison Surendran for a newbie

Opinion  |  Terence Netto
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was not very elucidating when she explained the party's decision to drop some incumbents and replace them with choices that puzzled.

“It's normal in general elections. Sometimes you get chosen, sometimes you don't,” offered the sometime ophthalmologist, in response to queries about why some incumbents were dropped from the PKR slate for GE14.

As explanations go, this one is about as useful as would be the case if an Umno wag were to say, “It's normal for people to donate to political parties. Sometimes you get big royal donors, sometimes you don't.”

Much drama accompanied the unveiling of the PKR list.

Again, this wasn't a surprise: over the last four years, the party has been a cockpit of factional strife.

Hence the high drama accompanying the announcement late Monday of the candidate list as speculation swirled over which faction had got the better of the other in gaining the endorsement of the party's ruling trinity, composed of incarcerated husband (Anwar Ibrahim), deputising wife (Wan Azizah) and anointed heir (Nurul Izzah Anwar).

In the fret and fever, derision and disaster that attended the drama, party faithful could be excused for failing to recall that 19 years ago, Parti Keadilan Nasional, PKR's precursor, was set up to combat the corruption, cronyism and nepotism of the ruling Umno-BN.

It's not as if a flawed PKR is not preferable to the ruling coalition, now much advanced in the dysfunctionality that was already evident two decades ago when Anwar became an international cause celebre as casualty of Umno's periodic convulsions.

It's just that a public less beguiled, less left in ignorance of the limits and frailty of competitors for leadership of the polity, would be less inclined to disillusion and rancour when, as happens often, aspirants turn out to be less impressive than their resumes.

Consider the resume of M Karupaiya, the nominee PKR preferred to its incumbent for the parliamentary seat of Padang Serai in Kedah, N Surendran, a human rights lawyer of national renown if not accomplishment.

Karupaiya's papers say he is a holder of a Form V certificate.

In his late 60s, that would make him the possessor of a Senior Cambridge certificate, a qualification not to be sniffed at when you put that against the quality of some present-day holders of diplomas and degrees the tertiary conveyor belt in Malaysia is churning out.

Karupaiya joined PKR in 2013, the year Surendran was elected MP for Padang Serai on a PKR ticket...

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