PETALING JAYA: PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar is speculated to take control of the party in Penang, as members seek the ouster of the current state chief Mansor Othman in the coming party polls amid dissatisfaction with the way the party is treated by DAP.
Mansor is currently defending his post as the Nibong Tebal division chief.
A source told FMT that Nurul Izzah, who last May won the Permatang Pauh seat which was long represented by her parents, is likely to replace Mansor.
It is understood that members are unhappy with Mansor’s failure to “defend” the party’s interests with the DAP-led Penang government, especially in appointing PKR leaders to government positions following Pakatan Harapan’s victory.
Among their grouses is that Mansor was not firm during negotiations to demand positions in the state executive council for PKR assemblymen.
“Despite PKR doing better in the recent general election, it is status quo in the state exco line-up for PKR with just three exco members.
“We should have had at least four to reward us for doing better,” the source said.
It said PKR members were also sidelined in state firms and bodies.
Mansor, 59, a former political secretary to Anwar Ibrahim, served as the Penang deputy chief minister between 2009 and 2013, before he won the Nibong Tebal federal seat in 2013
Former Sungai Bakap assemblyman Maktar Shapee and veteran PKR activist S Sanjay are challenging him for the Nibong Tebal division chief’s post.
A PKR insider said Nurul would be better positioned to negotiate a better deal for the party and “twist some arms” to ensure its presence is felt in the state administration.
Another source said Anwar was “not happy” with Mansor’s performance.
“The writing is on the wall and Mansor appears to be off the radar. It is as if he knew what was coming, ” the source said.
Mansor and Nurul have yet to respond to FMT’s requests for comments.
PKR’s Norlela Ariffin was first to sound the alarm over Penang’s exco line-up, claiming it was biased towards DAP.
She said if the number of seats won by PKR was added to the number of seats won by Amanah and PPBM, it would total 18 seats, which was nearly equal to DAP’s 19.
The current exco line-up, excluding the chief minister, is seven posts for DAP and three for PKR.
The current 40-member Penang assembly comprises of reps from DAP (19), PKR (14), Amanah (two), PPBM (two), Barisan Nasional (two) and PAS (one).
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had said the current exco line-up mimicked the previous term’s 7:3 DAP to PKR ratio as it was the “winning formula” to ensure election promises were fulfilled.
He also said the exco members must perform or risk being replaced.
In the 2013 polls, the disbanded Pakatan Rakyat won 30 seats in the Penang assembly. DAP won 19, PKR 10 and PAS one. BN held 10 state seats then.