A Wanita Pakatan Harapan meeting on Monday stirred allegations of an attempt to remove Zuraida Kamaruddin as its chief ahead of a presidential council pow-wow to discuss the transition of power between Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
This is because the women chief has a seat in the presidential council.
However, sources who attended the meeting denied that the discussions were linked to the transition issue.
DAP women’s chief Chong Eng, who is also a Wanita Harapan deputy chief, said there have been efforts to update the wing’s leadership since last year following the 2018 PKR party elections.
She said under the existing guidelines, the Wanita Harapan chief must hold the same position in one of the four component parties.
Zuraida, who is also the housing and local government minister, relinquished her position as Wanita PKR chief in 2018 when she contested the vice-president post instead.
She is currently on leave from her vice-president post due to the disciplinary proceedings against her over a scathing speech critical of Anwar.
“So, there is a need to discuss her position in Wanita Harapan… This is related to the legitimacy and rationale of the post.
“It’s not personal or about who Zuraida is, as her performance is good and she deserves to be the Wanita chief, it’s just that she is no longer PKR wanita chief, so it doesn’t fulfil the guidelines,” Chong told Malaysiakini.
A DAP source also said Amanah shared the same view. The source denied this had anything to do with the transition of power.
The source, however, said attempts to discuss Zuraida’s position had been opposed by PKR leaders who insisted that the minister – who was not in attendance – be present for such discussions.
Bersatu, meanwhile, appeared to want to abstain from the matter, according to the DAP source.
It is understood that there was an attempt to discuss this last year as well during Wanita Harapan’s sole meeting in 2019, sometime in the second quarter of the year.
Meanwhile, a PKR source – aligned to Anwar’s estranged deputy Azmin Ali – said the meeting on Monday sought not only to discuss the chief’s position but the entire committee’s structure as well.
“There was an effort to suspend the Wanita Harapan committee as there was no agreement on who should lead next,” she added.
However, she said this was a normal process following party elections where the new leadership should take over.
The motion was reportedly mooted by Amanah, with backing from DAP.
Asked whether this was an attempt to block Zuraida from attending tomorrow’s presidential council meeting, the source replied: “Maybe true, maybe not.”
Malaysiakini has contacted Zuraida and Amanah’s women’s leadership for comment.
Meanwhile, Chong said the meeting on Monday agreed to propose that all component parties’ women chiefs as part of the presidential council.
Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported that the top six leaders would meet ahead of the presidential council to iron out the details.
The six are Mahathir, Anwar, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and the coalition’s president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Prior to this, Mahathir said he would step down after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Kuala Lumpur in November.
Last week, Anwar met Mahathir in his office in Putrajaya in the wake of Sarawak Report claiming that MPs are signing a statutory declaration in support of the prime minister.
In a media statement issued later, the PKR president confirmed the existence of a plot to keep Mahathir in power but said the latter was not involved.
Sarawak Report alleged that apart from Umno, PAS, and Bersatu MPs, those in Azmin’s faction had also signed the document. – Malaysiakini