PETALING JAYA, June 10 — PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah today openly admitted there were problems between his party and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partner DAP in Penang.
“There is a problem. We don’t deny it,” he told reporters at PKR’s headquarters here after announcing massive reform plans to the party constitution.
But the national party leader stopped short of calling it a “fall-out”. He insisted it was a poor attempt by certain media to play up the issue and create the impression the PR coalition was in a crisis.
“We are not falling apart,” Sivarasa stressed.
He also strongly disagreed with DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang’s view that PR was in a “crisis of confidence” after PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s controversial idea to sit down and talk with archrival Umno on Malay/Muslim issues, raising the fear of an Umno-PAS unity government.
“Now that, I’ve to take up with him,” Sivarasa sighed.
The latest quarrel in Penang is sparked by disagreements over the state’s appointment last week of a senior civil servant as president in the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP).
Penang Chief Minister (CM) Lim Guan Eng, who is also the DAP secretary-general, had appointed district officer Mokhtar Mohd Jait to the powerful top post, catching his partners in PKR by surprise.
According to a Penang PKR representative, they were upset at Lim’s sudden announcement, which failed to follow the spirit of consultation among PR.
A state coalition council had in a meeting in January proposed to make the post a political appointment instead of keeping to past practices of putting a civil servant in charge of the local council.
“They understand that the CM has the final say, but they just wished he had told them he disagreed with the proposal before going public,” Yusmadi Yusoff, the PKR MP for Balik Pulau told The Malaysian Insider.
Sivarasa said the problem appears to a genuine failure in communication and consultation on both sides. He did not seem too troubled by the public spats.
“At least with us, things come out,” he pointed out.
The civil rights activist added that such public spats should be viewed in a positive light as it allowed the public to judge the situation for themselves, besides helping party leaders “deal with problems within the coalition.”