KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — PKR members should retain experienced leaders while electing new faces in order to strengthen the party overall and prepare it for the 15th general election, said Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin.
The former PKR Youth chief who is contesting to be a vice president told Malay Mail he would like to be in this combination, as most rivals for the position were those who joined after 2008, when PKR went from a one-seat party to become the largest in the Opposition then.
He put himself alongside fellow VP candidate Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari and deputy presidential hopeful Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail as those who rose through the ranks for the party.
This generation has been with PKR through thick and thin, he said, since the days of its founding in 1999 during the start of the Reformasi movement.
“There is a difference in the reason for the (party) election this time we see a combination of new faces or many new face candidates, so they certainly have a certain background and dynamics with the entry into the party.
“So, most of them are not tied to the history of the party itself, most of them joined the party after the big win in 2008.
“What they understand about this party is a little different from my friends who joined the party from the beginning, that’s why I entered the contest because of a combination of new and old faces, like me Saifuddin, Amirudin Shari himself rose in rank and file from below,” he told Malay Mail.
Shamsul, currently Hang Tuah Jaya MP, became PKR Youth chief in 2007, after predecessor Datuk Ezam Mohd Noor — an influential figure for the youth at that time — left the party that had been in disarray.
The law graduate also served as the information chief of the party when he was elected as vice president from 2014 to 2018.
Shamsul said that when the party was established 23 years ago, it had been less focused on building institutions as it had been a “street” party, in which its leaders spent more time in jail than in the secretariat to establish the party’s foundations.
“The work to establish the party’s institution started more in 2008 and now we have 1.5 million party members and the head of information gives training as I had risen through the rank and file and knows the weakness and strength of this party,” he said.
Shamsul added that the work was underway and he wanted the party to value information, training and political institutions as well as electoral institutions.
He also said there should be a special department in the party to train cadres to face elections.
“If I or anyone were to lose, I think the president could appoint those with the know-how and ability to a position corresponding to their specialties,” he said with a smile.
For the VP post, Shamsul faces 16 other candidates, including Amirudin, the current Selangor mentri besar; PKR communications director and Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil; Kuala Langat MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abd Hamid; Alor Setar MP Chan Ming Kai; and Sentosa state assemblyman Datuk G. Gunaraj.
Also in the running is Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun, Tanjung Malim MP Chang Lih Kang, PKR Wanita Chief and Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, and PKR organising secretary and Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
Others include former Perak PKR chairman Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak, former Perak PKR deputy chairman MA Tinagaran, and former Kapar MP G Manivannan.