PKR POLLS | PKR central leadership council member Latheefa Koya has called on the party to immediately suspend the upcoming polls in its Julau division in Sarawak, denouncing the party's decision to approve the contentious Julau membership list.
PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil had said yesterday that there had been no breach in the new membership application process and that the membership list was thus legitimate.
In response, Latheefa said this was "nothing less than an attempt by PKR's highest decision-making body to whitewash the controversial Julau membership issue".
"We know that some political bureau members had raised serious concerns over this matter, but the approval was bulldozed through nevertheless.
"If the increase in membership is legitimate as claimed by the PKR political bureau, then why have so many people come forward with complaints that their names have been added to the Julau membership roll without their consent?" she said in a statement this morning.
The intake of new members in the Julau PKR division courted controversy after its membership shot up from 603 on June 26 to 13,000 a day later. The sudden spike in membership raised eyebrows, especially in view that party elections would be held soon.
The final leg of the PKR polls, already marred by controversy, is slated to be held in Sarawak this weekend. A total of 10 divisional polls are also slated to be re-held in Malacca, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Sabah.
"Irrespective of whether or not the objections were made to the list during the objections period, PKR cannot use this as an excuse to do nothing in the face of mounting evidence of fraud.
"Failure to object, even if true, cannot legitimise a fraudulent list," her statement read.
Matter of public interest
Latheefa pointed out that as a component party within the ruling federal government, the Julau issue could no longer be considered an internal party affair, but a question of public interest.
"Some of those who are responsible for approving the Julau increase despite these complaints, hold high government posts.
"It will be a shameful mockery of the election process if the voting proceeds in Julau on Saturday; hence the PKR political bureau must come to their senses and suspend voting in the division immediately," she stated.
Despite being cleared by PKR, checks by Malaysiakini on Julau PKR's membership database revealed that 84 percent or more than 11,000 members were registered using just 11 "addresses".
Malaysiakini also found that these "addresses" were incomplete and merely the combination of names of polling districts and state constituencies in Julau.
Meanwhile, Latheefa's statement comes two days after she questioned party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s recent trip to Julau as deputy prime minister.
The former also criticised Wan Azizah's announcement of an RM100,000 allocation for a local road and the presence of Julau MP Larry Sng, himself a candidate in the party’s Julau division polls.
Wan Azizah, however, claimed the trip had been part of a long-planned schedule and had nothing to do with the PKR elections.
A 'hidden hand'
Meanwhile, PKR vice-presidential hopeful Zuraida Kamaruddin had instead called on all members to turn out to vote.
"We (PKR) have been inundated with all sorts of controversies, as though the party has failed to carry the democratic agenda long fought for, at the same time unable to maintain the Reformasi momentum in New Malaysia.
"It is as though there is a hidden hand trying to control the party voting process for the interests of an individual," she said in a statement.
However, she stated that members have a duty to ensure the next lineup of PKR leaders are ethical and capable of carrying out their responsibilities honourably.
"I, thus, appeal to members of PKR in Jelebu (Negeri Sembilan), Kuala Selangor (Selangor), Keningau (Sabah), Tawau (Sabah), Pensiangan (Sabah), Alor Gajah (Malacca), Masjid Tanah (Malacca), Tangga Batu (Malacca), Kota Melaka (Malacca), Jasin (Malacca) and across Sarawak... to come out to vote," she said.