The PKR congress this year will revisit the abortive Sept 16 plan to take over the federal government, withde facto leader Anwar Ibrahim expected to explain why the Pakatan Rakyat plan fell flat.
Supreme council member Khalid Jaafar, when contacted, said an explanation could defuse some of the perceptions and allegations that have been bandied about.
“(The congress) can be a platform to revive people’s faith in the party, since naturally there is disappointment over the Sept 16 plan,” he said.
“So far they’ve (Umno) talked about power transition, however we need to talk about power transfer, and quicken it if possible.”
About 2,000 delegates from 160 divisions are expected to attend the three-day congress from Nov 28, beginning with the Wanita and Youth meetings, at the Stadium Melawati in Shah Alam.
This year’s theme is Harapan Baru (A New Dawn).
Khalid said Anwar (right) would touch on changes in store for PKR, as well as talk about Umno.
“This congress will not just be a routine meeting. We have to mobilise the party since 2009 will be volatile with the (scheduled) power transition in Umno,” he added.
Deputy secretary-general Abdul Halim Mohamed Yusof said the congress will focus on strengthening the membership base.
This is vital because Parliament may be dissolved if after the power transition in Umno next March, he said.
Supreme council member Dr Xavier Jeyakumar said the congress will look at how the party can enhance ties with other Pakatan members and how the party can move forward.
“Personally I would like to see more ideas on how we can improve relationships between Pakatan states, and (how PKR can) mobilise to become the party of the future,” he said.
Formed in 1998 as Keadilan, during the reformasi period following Anwar’s arrest, the party subsequently merged with Parti Rakyat Malaysia to become Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
The year that was
This has already been quite a year for the party, which achieved resounding success in the March general election to take 30 federal seats - compared to just one in the 2004 polls.
PKR played a pivotal role in the run-up to the election, working with opposition allies DAP and PAS to avoid three-way fights with Barisan Nasional (BN). They won 81 seats, denying BN its two-thirds majority in Parliament.
The party now helms the Selangor government and is represented in Penang, Kedah and Perak, all of which fell to the opposition alliance.
In June, Anwar came up against a complaint of sodomy filed by ex-aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, but has elected to defend himself against the charge.
Some speculated that the allegation was part of a BN plot to derail Anwar’s agenda to take over the federal government by Sept 16, with the help of 31 defections.
This was at a time when several component parties in the ruling coalition were experiencing internal turmoil after the election debacle or were jostling for a higher profile in BN.
Although the defections did not take place, Anwar continued to claim in October that he still had sufficient support to take the plan through.
Another landmark event for PKR was Anwar’s return to active politics, having completed a five-year ban that followed his conviction and six-year jail sentence for corrupt practice from April 1999.
His wife and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who had held the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in the interim, vacated it on July 31.
Winning comfortably in his old stamping ground, Anwar was appointed opposition leader.
There is no word as yet if Wan Azizah will step down from her party post at the upcoming congress for Anwar to take control of PKR - party polls are only due next year.