Top PKR leader to step down in surprise move

Ms Zuraida Kamaruddin's move to leave the women's wing is seen by some analysts as reflecting internal party tensions. Parti Keadilan Rakyat has been riven by infighting, and it was shaken recently when Ampang Youth chief Adam Rosly, 29, came under g
Ms Zuraida Kamaruddin's move to leave the women's wing is seen by some analysts as reflecting internal party tensions. Parti Keadilan Rakyat has been riven by infighting, and it was shaken recently when Ampang Youth chief Adam Rosly, 29, came under graft investigations.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Women's wing chief denies decision is linked to graft probe into youth leader in her division

A senior politician in Malaysia's opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) said she will not defend her post as women's wing chief at the next party polls in a surprise announcement yesterday.

Ms Zuraida Kamaruddin said this in a speech at the wing's annual congress attended by some 800 delegates, a month after the youth chief in her Selangor division was charged in a corruption probe.

Ms Zuraida, 59, is into her 10th year as chief of the wing and is often known as Zuraida Ampang - a reference to her current two terms as MP for the Selangor constituency of Ampang.

Her move yesterday raised eyebrows as party polls will be held only next year, and is seen by some analysts as reflecting internal party tensions.

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The party has been riven by infighting between two factions for years, and it was shaken recently when Ampang Youth chief Adam Rosly, 29, came under investigations by the anti-corruption commission.

"It is time for me to hand over the tasks of PKR Women's chief to Haniza to continue the fight for the women in Keadilan", Ms Zuraida said in her speech, referring to her deputy chief Haniza Mohamed Talha, 55.

"I believe Haniza would give a breath of fresh air and her name would be on a par with all the international female leaders in the world."

Adam caught the attention of the authorities when his bungalow, which resembles a Disneyland castle, and flashy cars became public.

He said he built his wealth through business and a family inheritance.

Ms Zuraida had denied that Adam - who is facing six charges under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act - had worked as her aide.

Asked at a news conference yesterday if she was stepping down due to the controversy surrounding Adam, Ms Zuraida replied: "It has nothing to do with him.

"It is time."

Alluding to the corruption scandal, PKR Youth delegate Naqiuddin Nazir, speaking at the youth congress, said: "People are calling (the youth wing) corrupt, we didn't hear this before."

Another speaker at the youth meeting called on members to unite. "There are concerns that there is a Team A and Team B in the wing," said youth vice-president Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin.

"I want to tell you, that is only during party elections.

"Today, we are all one team."

The main PKR congress will be held today, with observers keen to see how the party will handle the controversy surrounding Parti Islam SeMalaysia's move to cut ties with it in Selangor.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 21, 2017, with the headline 'Top PKR leader to step down in surprise move'. Print Edition | Subscribe