Negotiate or fight? Battle for No 2 post in Anwar’s PKR reveals divergences in political strategy


The recent state election and by-election defeats would be a factor in selecting the new PKR leadership line-up, analysts told CNA. 

University of Tasmania’s Professor of Asian Studies James Chin noted that the mood for the party election this time is very different compared to the previous one, as PKR had lost three state elections – Melaka, Sarawak and Johor – in a row. 
If Mr Saifuddin were to win the deputy president’s post, he said, that meant the party was not in the mood for change, and observers could expect more of the same tactics of negotiation and deals for GE15. 

A win by Mr Rafizi, on the other hand, would mean that PKR wanted drastic change, Prof Chin added. 

“But the danger is that if Rafizi wins, it means the party is headed for a major internal  split, because he is going to bring what we might call fundamental reforms to the party,” he said.  

However, Prof Chin did not see any reason for defections even if there was a split, as “there were no more other parties to run to”. 

“Both the government side and the opposition side are firming up for GE15, so if there is going to be any unhappiness, they will split the party, but most will still remain with PKR. There really is no place to go after this,” Prof Chin said. 

PKR, he said, was already expected to perform poorly in GE15, and a split plus the appearance of political momentum on BN’s side would only further worsen the party’s chances. 

“If you were to nitpick, both of them (Mr Saifuddin and Mr Rafizi) have issues in their past, not only Rafizi. Of course it will have to get toxic, because you’re fighting to be No 2. 

“What is not said openly,  but widely understood, is that No 2 will be in a position to replace Anwar. So basically, you are also selecting Anwar’s successor,” Prof Chin said. 


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