Zuraida sends aide to submit reply to show-cause letter at PKR HQ, where her supporters and detractors were gathered.
- Zuraida claimed had not received letter of demand from Saifuddin but her office acknowledged receipt on Jan 20
- Group to lodge MACC report against Zuraida over abuse of power
- Zuraida supporters and detractors in stand-off
PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution today insisted his letter of demand to party vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin over alleged defamation was received by the latter’s office over a week ago.
He said the letter was delivered to Zuraida’s ministry’s office in Putrajaya. Zuraida is the housing and local government minister.
“It was sent to her office at KPKT (Ministry of Housing and Local Government) and the (acknowledgement) stamp (of receipt) I received was on Jan 20,” he said to Malaysiakini.
This came after Zuraida, the Ampang MP, said she had yet to receive any such letter.
Saifuddin, who is also domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, announced yesterday that he has issued the letter, in his personal capacity, over Zuraida’s allegedly defamatory remarks against him.
According to Saifuddin today, the letter pertains to allegations concerning the Kelantan government and Tabung Amanah Tok Kenali.
The Kulim-Bandar Baharu lawmaker had previously claimed the late PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat had at one time appointed him to head the state government-linked company from 2004 to 2007.
The letter of demand to Zuraida came after she was served a show-cause letter over remarks against PKR president Anwar Ibrahim at a dinner last December.
Zuraida replied to the show-cause letter today as hundreds of protesters and supporters gathered at PKR headquarters.
She sent her political secretary, Nor Hizwan Ahmad, to deliver the reply at about 1pm.
Outside the party HQ, almost 100 of Zuraida’s detractors urged the party to sack the housing and local government minister. Facing them was a group of Zuraida’s supporters, who want the party to retract the show-cause letter.
Waiting since 11.30am, the anti-Zuraida group numbered more than 200 and mostly appeared young.
They paraded banners calling for Zuraida’s sacking and wore sky blue T-shirts with the words “Pecat Mak Lampir”, referring to the derogatory nickname from an Indonesian ghost attributed to her.
Their leader Zainurizzaman Moharam claimed that they are from Gerakan Reformis Keadilan (Gerak) a PKR-friendly grassroots non-governmental organisation.
He said Gerak was there to hand a memorandum to the party’s disciplinary board urging them to sack Zuraida.
“We represent all Keadilan members across Malaysia and stand firm behind PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. We want action to be taken against Zuraida for attacking, insulting and giving a negative perception towards the party president,” he told reporters.
Gerak also said it will lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against Zuraida over abuse of power.
Zainurizzaman alleged Zuraida has abused her position as a minister by using pressure group Penggerak Dasar Komuniti Negara or Penggerak Muafakat to champion party issues.
“This NGO has been used as a mouthpiece to issue statements to support Zuraida as the PKR vice-president.
“This has raised questions on how a ministry-supported NGO should be involved in party matters,” said Zainurizzaman.
He said it also raises questions whether government funds are being used to hold programmes for the benefit of Zuraida and her supporters.
Zuraida’s supporters, who numbered about 80, waited at Hotel Media nearby the headquarters and also carried banners.
At 12.30pm, Nor Hizwan showed up and together with the supporters marched 30 metres in the rain towards the party headquarters.
About a dozen police officers from Petaling Jaya kept both supporters separated and only allowed Nor Hizwan and three others to submit Zuraida’s response.
Nor Hizwan came back at about 1pm and said Zuraida is currently attending a Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya but has responded to all three points given by the party. However, both sides refused to give details on what the points are.
“I can say that Zuraida was able to respond calmly because everything she said in her speech, including at the Renaissance dinner, was true and as the elected vice-president, she took the responsibility to answer the letter,” he said.
Anwar urged protesters to disperse from the party office, adding that disciplinary action can be taken against them.
“The actions of these groups will not influence the disciplinary board in any of its decision,” he said in a statement.
He also urged the disciplinary board to monitor members who continued to protest.
Both supporters continued to trade barbs and insult before dispersing at 1.40pm.