SHAH ALAM, July 15 — PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been an open leader and should be treated with respect and obeyed and not seen as dragging down the party, especially by its members, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said today.
The party's secretary-general noted that Anwar has been criticised both outside the party and within, adding that some PKR members had even described their president as a liability rather than an asset.
"Our leader named Anwar is a normal human, he has strengths and weaknesses.
"When we put him as our number one leader, it is imperative we give respect and obey him as the presidential institution.
"He can be challenged, he can be reprimanded, criticised and even warned, but it must be according to the manners and party’s discipline,” he told some 380 delegates attending the PKR Youth congress here.
However, Saifuddin Nasution did not name those who described Anwar as a liability.
Questioned by reporters later, the Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP said epithets against Anwar has been making the rounds since 1999 when the latter was first jailed after his sacking as deputy prime minister.
Saifuddin Nasution added that some even condemned the reform party then as foolish for choosing the convicted Anwar to lead it.
But, he added that these were "part and parcel of politics".
Saifuddin Nasution cautioned PKR Youth leaders that the biggest threat facing their party is disunity, noting that some were not even able to "sit together” after the recent internal polls.
Citing himself as an example, Saifuddin Nasution said he had lost the contest for the PKR deputy presidency to Rafizi Ramli, but stressed that all members must prioritise unity above all else.
"Without realising, when we tries to destroy one faction, we build our own faction that itself threatens the unity of the party,” he said.