Turmoil in Malaysian party after Badawi sticks to security law

December 11th, 2008 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 11 (IANS) Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s reiteration he has no plans to abolish the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA) has led to turmoil in the party, led by an ethnic Indian, that supports the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) president M. Kayveas has been challenged by a senior colleague after his threat to withdraw from the BN came a cropper. Kayveas had made PPP’s being in the BN conditional to the government abolishing the ISA before the elections in March this year.

But that is not happening and now former PPP president and senior leader S.I. Rajah has asked Kayveas to quit, The Star said Thursday.

Rajah alleged Wednesday that Kayveas had not consulted the party before raising the ISA issue.

The law is a sensitive issue within the BN and with the Badawi government that has rejected demands for its abolition.

On Tuesday, Badawi said the government had no intention of abolishing the ISA and that PPP was free to leave the coalition if it wanted to.

PPP office bearers are rallying behind Kayveas.

Vice president Maglin D.Cruz said Rajah had no right to make the statement as he was not even a PPP member any more.

“Who is he to tell the party president to step down? He (Rajah) is a nobody. I haven’t seen him in the party for over 12 years now. And he is certainly not the party adviser,” he said.

Vice president of the dominant BN constituent United Malay National Organisation (Umno) Mohammed Ali Rustam has said Kayveas’ threat was “a cheap publicity stunt.”

He said the ISA was still crucial to maintain peace and security, and added that the PPP’s departure would have no impact on the coalition.

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