COMMENT | The starter pistol has been fired, and PKR is off to the races. This is the first time a component party of Pakatan Harapan is holding its elections since coming to power, so it will serve as a test in many ways.
As we look into some of the major dynamics of the race, a mostly pros versus cons approach will be taken.
PKR has a rather unique and interesting electoral system. The best thing about the system is the concept of one member, one vote.
In this sense, it is the political party that is by far the most democratic in Malaysia, compared to the other layered or tiered systems used by other parties.
However, there are a number of odd things as well. The party elections take place over nearly four months, which is an anomaly. This is most likely not a particularly good thing, as it makes the contest a long, drawn-out affair.
Recent news about imposing a nomination fee for candidates wishing to run was also a bit odd.
On the one hand, I suppose it shows that PKR is not receiving outside funding for its election process, which is arguably a good thing.
On the other, it creates a barrier of entry that can only be seen as undemocratic.
Outsiders may speculate that this is one of the reasons Anwar Ibrahim won the president’s post uncontested.
Here, as well, there are pros and cons. The good news is that Anwar is now the duly elected leader of the party, as opposed to holding the rather vague and non-democratic post of "de facto leader", whatever that meant.
While I’m sure some members were happy that there was no contest for the president’s post, in the long run, it may be a good thing for all posts to see a healthy democratic contest...