Sabah PKR vice-chief resigns, accuses Anwar of splitting party and triggering loss of two seats

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Datuk John Ot Ghani Ramli has reportedly decided to leave PKR and had given up his vice-chairman role in the Sabah chapter, saying he was disappointed with party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's actions in changing the chapter chief at this point in time.

The 72-year-old John has reportedly been with the party for 18 years, and was formerly the Kuala Penyu assemblyman in Sabah for two terms.

John reportedly said Sabah PKR members were hoping for Anwar to resolve the problem of the existence of two camps there — one which was aligned with then Sabah PKR chief Christina Liew, and another one aligned with PKR Keningau division chief Datuk Sangkar Rasam and the latter's nephew and former Sabah PKR youth chief and current Pensiangan PKR division chief Raymond Ahuar.

But Anwar on August 6 announced that Sangkar would replace Liew as Sabah PKR chief.

"Anwar was supposed to play peacemaker but ended up splitting the party even further," John was quoted saying by local daily The Star.

John reportedly said he was not questioning the decision to change the Sabah PKR chief as it was the PKR president's prerogative to do so, but said this was the "wrong timing" and that the party's focus should instead be on the 15th general election (GE15) which he said was just around the corner.

"Now, this appointment will further split members. I believe this could end up in us losing the Putatan and Tawau parliamentary seats," he was also quoted saying, referring to the two seats it won in 2018.

These were the only two seats that PKR had won in Sabah in the general elections in 2018, with Liew winning the Tawau seat then.

Liew is currently also the Api-Api state assemblyman and was formerly deputy chief minister of Sabah, and had been a PKR member for the past 20 years and had been the Sabah PKR chief since October 2016.

According to The Star, Sangkar had last December led 16 Sabah PKR division chiefs in calling for Anwar to drop Liew as Sabah PKR chief.

The Star also reported John as expressing unhappiness with Pakatan Harapan signing a memorandum of understanding with the federal government and said that it had resulted in losses for the federal opposition in past state elections in Melaka, Sarawak and Johor.

Local daily Berita Harian reported that John's resignation had taken effect on July 25, while also expressing concern that Anwar's move to change the Sabah PKR chief could affect the support of party members of the Chinese ethnicity and KadazanDusun-Murut ethnicity.