PKR polls turn ugly after Azmin wins Penang

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 –  PKR polls came to an abrupt end over the weekend following chaotic scenes in Kedah. The party has now postponed the election in several states.

Bernama reported that the Party Election Committee decided to postpone the 2018 PKR election process in 5 states. States affected are Kedah, Perak, Perlis, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.

However, the polls in Penang had proceeded smoothly earlier with PKR Deputy President Datuk Mohamed Azmin Ali winning the state, getting 3,326 against challenger Rafizi Ramli’s 3,150. That is a mere 176 majority from the 13 divisions in the state.

Breaking down the vote, Azmin had the edge in eight of the divisions while Rafizi took five.

Permatang Pauh chooses Rafizi

Interestingly, in Permatang Pauh, the longtime stronghold of PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his family, Rafizi received more votes than Azmin. It was marginal, with 231 votes going to Rafizi against Azmin’s 206, but it is indicative of the grassroots sentiment possibly following that of the “PKR first family”.

The current Permatang Pauh MP is Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah. She succeeded her mother Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who won the seat in a by-election in 2015.

Anwar won the Permatang Pauh seat in the 13th general election in May 2013, but lost the seat following his Sodomy II conviction in February 2015.

Viral video of ‘flying chairs’

Still, the chaotic scenes in Kedah took the spotlight in the news, with a video of chairs thrown during the ruckus going viral.

The party leadership quickly blamed sabotage for the trouble that stirred in the Merbok and Jerai divisions.

Following the postpone of its polls, PKR could do little more than promise to improve the e-voting system used for the party elections to ensure smooth voting processes in all states.

PKR political bureau chairman Mohd Rashid Hasnon was quoted by Bernama as saying if the problem remained unresolved, it was likely that the election process would be conducted manually by ballot paper.

Sack the troublemakers, says Anwar

Anwar too commented on the problematic start to the party polls.

“There were weaknesses in the election process. That is why the election scheduled to be held in some states during the weekend was postponed, to ensure the election is clean,” he said according to the national news agency.

He added that those who were involved in the chaotic scenes, including throwing chairs would be sacked from the party.

Police make arrests over PKR polls chaos

Meanwhile, police have arrested 14 men believed to be involved in the Saturday fracas at the Merbok PKR division election.

Kuala Muda OCPD Asst Comm Adzli Abu Shah told Bernama that the men, in their 20s and 50s, were picked up in the Kuala Muda district during a three-hour operation which ended at 2am yesterday.

He added that 13 of them had since been remanded for three days starting yesterday.

The case is being investigated under Section 148 of the Penal Code for rioting with weapons.

It was earlier reported that the e-voting at the Kedah PKR polls got off to a controversial start with fracas and claims of sabotage. A member was left bleeding from the head after he was bashed with sticks.

-NMT