28 January, 2010

Anwar, please remember; "just one bad apple could spoil a barrel "

Many expected the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) political bureau to make a strong recommendation against Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin, after he was seen to have crossed the line for making a police report against a fellow opposition MP from PAS.

However, only a gag order was imposed, pending a disciplinary board investigation against him, indicating the party needs more time to figure out the next course of action against the firebrand politician.

"(PKR party adviser) Anwar Ibrahim looks like he is in a dilemma now, he has to make sacrifices between personal friendship and the interest of the party," said political analyst Dr Sivamurugan Pandian.

Zulkifili is a die-hard supporter of the PKR de facto leader, having stood by him during the former's darkest days in 1998, and throughout the Reformasi struggle, sacrificing his own professional life and aspirations for Anwar.

It is this bond that makes it hard for him to be ignored and dealt with clinically.

Known for his hardline views and actions in the past, Zulkifli has ruffled many feathers but thus far, received no more than a slap on the wrist for various transgressions.

This includes his infamous action with a few others who barged into the Bar Council's forum on religious conversions in August 2008. The forum was eventually cut short.

Last November, Zulkifli made headlines again by challenging PKR vice-president R Sivarasa to quit after being criticised for constantly going against the party line.

However, his latest police report against Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad seems to be the last straw.

Dr Sivamurugan said Anwar "was caught in a situation" where he needed to come out with new mechanisms as the latest action by Zulkifli had affected the level of confidence from the grassroots and the public.

"You can agree and disagree but to what extent (do) you want to sacrifice the party's interests? Some of Zulkifli's opinions did not carry weight and did not get the support of the PR (Pakatan Rakyat). If DAP and PAS do not accept Zulkifli's opinion, then there will be some kind of crisis of confidence," he said.

"Anwar has to make a decision whether he wants to sacrifice Zulkifli for the benefit of PR or he wants the crisis to prolong. It is also a choice between personal friends or party interests. Anwar is really at the crossroads now," he added.

Dr Sivamurugan said it would be better for the party to deal with the issue now, rather than sweep it under the carpet.

"It is not a major issue but it would keep haunting them, especially in this new political landscape.

"It would be good to sacrifice one for the benefit of the party. However, they must be mindful of the backlash from such decisions as Zulkifli also has many supporters in the party, as well as the rival party," he said.

It is this delicate situation that some party insiders said, prompted Anwar to be non-committal when asked if Zulkifli was a liability.

Therefore, it is not surprising that some PKR leaders, such as Zaid Ibrahim, have slammed the party for treating Zulkifli with "kid gloves" and certain quarters in the party are hesitant to take action against Zulkifli as they feel that the lawyer is popular among the Malays for his Islamic issues.

"Many feel that PKR is not serious in taking action. In fact, there are those who predict it won't take strict action within the given time," Zaid wrote in his blog Wednesday.

However, for PKR strategic director Tian Chua, this is not an issue of personal friendship or party interest but more, an action of a certain individual wanting to be a "hero".

"The chip has to be down. We don't want to give him a chance to glorify himself.

"We don't want that (he becoming the hero). No more giving him chance to be a hero. The last thing we want is, (for) Umno to rally behind him," he said.




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