PKR leadership changes see Rafizi as sec-gen

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KUALA LUMPUR: PKRs newly-appointed secretary-general Rafizi Ramli will continue as the party’s vice-president, said its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, adding that there is no law in the party that prohibits a leader from holding two posts.

“No rule in the party stops him (Rafizi) from holding both posts,” Anwar told reporters at the parliament lobby yesterday.

He said the decision to appoint Rafizi, the architect of the “Kajang Move”, was made by party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on Sunday.

“It is a good decision. We have not had a reshuffle or new appointments since the party elections a while ago. More new appointments will be announced later,” the opposition leader said.

Changes to the PKR leadership line-up were made at a meeting of its political bureau and central leadership council on Sunday night.

Rafizi, the Pandan MP, replaces Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who is now co-director of elections, together with vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar who was also appointed to the post.

Anwar said the move was also to allow PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, who was previously the election director, to concentrate on his role as the menteri besar of Selangor. “Since he (Azmin) was the director previously, we have asked that he help out in election matters as well,” he said.

Rafizi’s post as the party’s strategic director has been taken over by Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin.

Sim told The Malaysian Insider that the changes were made as part of PKR’s preparation for the next generation of leaders to take on more responsibilities.

“With Rafizi as secretary-general and Nurul Izzah as election co-director and me as strategy director, the party is preparing for the second generation to take more responsibilities. It will bode well with voters as we will put policy debates at the forefront, not race or religion. We will articulate issues close to people’s hearts,” Sim said.

The party also appointed two new vice-presidents: Sri Andalas assemblyman Dr Xavier Jayakumar and Penampang MP Darell Leiking.

PKR’s women chief Zuraida Kamaruddin told a local daily that the third vice-president has not been confirmed, although they have a name in mind. She also reportedly said that the move to allow one person to fill two posts, while an unconventional one, was done with a view “to put the best people in the best places”.

“Now that the deputy president is a menteri besar, he is preoccupied with other tasks outside the party. That is why we have to beef up the appointments,” she said, according to the daily. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 14, 2014.