PKR polls: Akmal vows to reform Youth wing if he is chief


JOHOR BARU MP Akmal Nasir is one of the candidates vying for the PKR Youth top post. He speaks to the NEW SUNDAY TIMES on his game plan to make the wing more relevant and its role to support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.Question: Why are you contesting the PKR Youth chief post this time? Answer: I wanted to contest the post due to several reasons. When I meet my friends from Johor, they say they want me to reform PKR Youth. They are eager for reform, and they have ideas and they want policy changes to include more youth participation in the party. My position as Johor Baru member of parliament is a new challenge as Johor is a new state for Pakatan Harapan, unlike Penang and Selangor. I see this as an opportunity to bring changes and reforms.Q: What are the changes you plan to bring about?A: PKR is the largest political party in the government and Pakatan Harapan. I plan to revamp the grassroots so that we have a smooth succession plan. PKR Youth must remain relevant as it is responsible for remaining in touch with the youth. This can be achieved by being their voice and organising more programmes.Q: What are PKR Youth’s weaknesses that need to be addressed?A: The Youth wing must be more vocal, but they are bogged down by lack of funds and work commitments. We will ensure that they remain vocal by taking care of their welfare and ensuring they are not tied down by other positions.Q: Is it normal to have factions in PKR Youth?A: PKR is the only party that practises one vote per member. Thus, democracy is alive in PKR, with 850,000 voters. This means that one candidate cannot win overall support, thus, a candidate needs to be part of a team to vie for positions. But we are in step with each other, as seen by our support for Rafizi (Ramli), where we are united as a team. Members can’t openly voice support for a member.

NSTP FILE PIX: Johor Baru MP Akmal Nasir speaks of his gameplan for PKR Youth if he wins at the party polls.

Q: Are there any problems working with others not in your camp?
A: We don’t look at personalities. We regard reformation and idealism highly. That is why we have fully supported (Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim) for the past 20 years. We work in concert and we are highly disciplined. If some names are dropped, it is not a problem because what is important is the party.Q: Who is more true to party reforms? Datuk Seri Azmin Ali or Rafizi Ramli?A: Both love the party. We can see how Rafizi implemented reforms during the general election. We also saw how he fought for the people, which is inextricably linked with the welfare of party members. We saw changes. Azmin, meanwhile, is inept in politicking. We don’t see Azmin much at the grassroots, but he is involved in high-level party negotiations, which is also important. That is how they implement their reforms in their own ways.Q: How will the PKR polls be different now that the party is in power and not in the opposition?

A: The party polls will determine who becomes the country’s leaders. The polls allow party members who are leaders in their areas to become closer to the people despite not being elected representatives. That is our advantage. But some members are in Parliament and this allows us to speak out more. This is important to ensure an effective government. We couldn’t to do so when we were in the opposition.Q: If you lose, what is your next step?A: I hope to push for a better system in Parliament and plan to set up a committee in the party to roll out people-friendly policies. I also want to be closer with youth in Johor.Q: What are your hopes for the PKR Youth polls?A: I hope PKR continues to be the voice for reformation. At the polls, members must vote wisely for the sake of the party’s and members’ future. We want to elect credible leaders to support Anwar, who is slated to be our eighth prime minister.Q: Is Anwar on track to become prime minister?A: As members of parliament, we all have to make sure that happens. However, we must also give the current leadership space to implement their responsibilities and carry out the trust given to them. Hopefully, when the time comes, the power transition will be smooth. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd