PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli said he and the party’s candidate selection committee initially proposed for incumbent MP R Sivarasa to defend his Sungai Buloh seat in the 15th general election (GE15).
However, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had a different opinion.
“I can inform that there was a difference in opinion between the candidate selection committee, myself, and the president.
“The committee and I suggested for Sivarasa to be maintained (in Sungai Buloh) but the party president had a different opinion and I respect his opinion and his discretion because the power to decide on candidates is in the hands of the president of any party,” Rafizi said in a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.
PKR had previously announced it would field its deputy information chief R Ramanan for Sungai Buloh.
Ramanan was the MIC treasurer-general before this but stepped down in 2014 after the Kuala Lumpur High Cout instructed him to return RM5.5 million he obtained through fraud.
At the time, he reportedly said he was appealing the decision and was willing to pay the amount to the plaintiff.
In June 2014, Ramanan dropped his appeal against the judgement and entered a consent judgement with the plaintiff where he agreed to pay the RM5.5 million.
The announcement of Ramanan as the Sungai Buloh candidate prompted backlash from constituents, who urged for a different candidate or to retain Sivarasa, especially after Umno/BN announced Khairy Jamaluddin as their candidate for the constituency.
Rafizi said after considering the feedback they received, PKR has decided to continue with Ramanan as their Sungai Buloh candidate.
“We did have feedback to reconsider our candidate but I respect the decision of the president who felt it was better to maintain the candidate so that the ongoing campaign can continue,” he said.
As far as Rafizi is concerned, the internal process within the party in reviewing their candidates has been exhausted.
“I have to balance between trying to manage the feedback as well as the internal process, with the fact that the finality is with Anwar and he has made his view.
“I think we should move on as a party and focus on the overall picture of the campaign,” he said.
Rafizi also said that PKR has made it a requirement for all its candidates to submit an asset declaration form and sign an agreement to be loyal to the party and to serve the public should they be elected.
As such, he urged Sungai Buloh voters to back Ramanan as the Pakatan Harapan candidate.
Rafizi said he respected Khairy as the only Umno politician who did not resort to racial politics in the past 10 years.
But he claimed that voting for Khairy in this election would hurt the latter’s leadership potential in the long run, insinuating that Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was moving to remove internal critics within his own party.
“Smile and take photos with KJ, but please don’t vote for him.
“It’s almost like putting a sword in Zahid’s hand to cut him off,” Rafizi said.
Rafizi also said Khairy might not be chosen as a minister if BN won.
“Khairy wishes to change Umno’s direction, but I feel that the party is moving towards a different one, playing the race card.
“I don’t think (BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad) Zahid Hamidi will appoint him if he becomes the prime minister,” he said.