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Presidential Council led by Azizah helms Sabah PKR

Published on: Monday, February 07, 2011

Penampang: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail has taken over as PKR Sabah interim chief following the abrupt resignation of Sabah PKR chief, Pajudin Nordin on Saturday.

The move was made after a consensus was reached between the PKR Sabah division leaders and the central leadership council for the formation of an 11-member Presidential Council to be led by Wan Azizah effective Sunday.

"My focus in this interim period is to put in place the necessary organisational structure to allow PKR Sabah to function as a formidable champion of the people of Sabah," she said.

"This interim measure is put in place to bring about a concerted effort to focus PKR Sabah's resources and work on setting up a fair agenda for the people of Sabah, in light of the expected 13th General Election due to be called within months," she added.

Announcing this after meeting with 19 division chiefs and two acting division chiefs from PKR Sabah at the party's state headquarters in Bundusan, Sunday, Wan Azizah said the idea was put up to the state leaders who immediately agreed.

"We hope that with the formation of the PKR Sabah Presidential Council it will assist the party to move forward and focus on the issues affecting the people of Sabah," she said.

Wan Azizah who was attending the PKR Sabah Chinese New Year celebration later in the evening at the Putera Ballroom Theatre in Luyang, said she was hardly surprised by Pajudin's action to join Umno.

"We made our decision based on reports É we wish him all the best and good luck," she said when asked whether there was any regret and mistake in appointing Pajudin in the first place.

Pajudin who announced his resignation from the party at Seri Gaya, the official residence of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman less than one month of his appointment as the PKR Sabah chief, which, had received objections from several party divisions.

On Pajudin claims that PKR leadership in Kuala Lumpur had been manipulating and fooling the party leaders in Sabah, Wan Azizah said the question should be directed to the state leaders themselves.

PKR Kota Kinabalu chief, Christina Liew who was also at the press conference asserted that as far as she was concerned she never felt being manipulated by the party leadership.

"I don't think it is an accurate statement but that's his decision so we just have to wish him well," Liew added.

Meanwhile, asked if the setting up of the Presidential Council and the president taking over as the PKR Sabah chief would be able to quell the "turmoil" in the state party leadership, Azizah replied, "What turmoil? There is no turmoil."

She said that such a situation was normal in political parties.

She explained that the 11-member Presidential Council was mandated to finalise the election manifesto and PKR Sabah's commitment to restore the dignity, fairness and justice to the people of Sabah in the form of a set of offerings and policies on a wide range of political, economical and social issues affecting the people of Sabah.

"They will tour the State in February and March to engage the public and gather feedback to be incorporated in a final document to be unveiled at the next PKR Sabah's State Convention; planned for the last week of March 2011.

"The functions and responsibilities of the Presidential Council are mapped to the issues that are of major importance to the people of Sabah and are partly designed to match the State Cabinet, in order to provide the focus and early training for our state leaders to press accountability on the present state government and develop the skills and acumen necessary to bring about change in the State.

"It is hoped that this form of structured monitoring and issue-based approach will signal a beginning of healthier political culture in Malaysian politics," she said.

According to her, members of the Presidential Council will include division leaders from Sabah and that various committees resembling the portfolios in the State Cabinet will also be set up.

In addition, the Presidential Council will also cover issues concerning Yayasan Sabah, security, health, education among others.

However, Wan Azizah said the Council was not a Shadow Cabinet for Sabah because if that was the case PKR had to consider their Pakatan Rakyat partners i.e. DAP and PAS.

The portfolios of the PKR Sabah's Presidential Council are namely Finance, Security and Immigration, Rural Development, Infrastructure Development, Housing and Local Government, Industrial Development and Forestry, Land Development and Management, Health, Family Development and Consumer Affairs, Sports and Youth, Tourism, Culture and Environment, Education, Human Capital Development and IT as well as Agriculture and Food Security.

She said the announcement of the membership of the council and their respective portfolios will be made in the near future.

"We have names but it will have to be agreed upon by all first," she said.

At the same time, Wan Azizah also announced the setting up of an Organising Secretariat of PKR Sabah's State Convention with strict terms of reference to co-ordinate the activities and seminars to be held by the party in February and March to build the political momentum towards the State Convention.

"Thus, PKR Sabah's focus shall be on the welfare of the people, with two prongs approaches of promoting new policies to eradicate poverty and improving the living standards of Sabahans; while keeping the present state government accountable to the public," she said.

PKR Vice President, Tian Chua said PKR Sabah is already quite solid but the reason for the setting up of the Presidential Council was to allow them to gear up for the General Election.

He said that previously more focus was given to PKR's internal problem but that as it gets nearer for the General Election it was time to give voters the opportunity to evaluate between them and the Barisan Nasional (BN).

As for the PKR Manifesto on Sabah, Tian Chua who is Batu MP said PKR wanted to stress that it was time for the BN to focus and debate with them on the real issues.

"Rather than getting cheap publicity by exposing one or two (PKR) joining them (BN).

This means nothing to the voters because all they want to know is the reason for them to choose the government," he said.