By Zefry Dahalan
KUALA LUMPUR: PKR was quick to accuse Barisan Nasional of corruption when its candidate Zaid Ibrahim was defeated in the Hulu Selangor by-election.
However, sources told FMT that PKR itself was in disarray throughout the seven-day campaign period.
The sources said while PAS and DAP were in full throttle, PKR, which governs Selangor, had failed to mobilise its people.
As the host, PKR was expected to lead the assault in Hulu Selangor.
“But they (PKR leaders) were nowhere to be seen,” a vexed Pakatan Rakyat grassroots leader from Johor said on condition that FMT does not name him.
"Our team was completely lost; we are not locals and we do not know the housing areas and villages there. Nobody from PKR Selangor helped us out,” he said.
“Even on the fourth day of our door-to-door campaign, we did not receive any pamphlets, or the candidate's biodata and manifesto. Is this how you run a campaign?” he asked.
To make matters worse, he said there were those linked to the Malay pressure group Perkasa which was roped in to help out in the campaign.
Perkasa chairman Ibrahim Ali was campaigning for BN candidate P Kamalanathan instead.
No food and shelter
Another outstation Pakatan leader complained that they (the campaigners) had to look for their own food and lodging and had to use their money for this.
According to him, all the divisions in his state contributed money to rent three houses, and for food and election campaign work.
"During our stay in Hulu Selangor, nobody from the state PKR assisted us in terms of logistics. We took money out of our own pockets because we believed in the struggle,” he said.
The disappointed leader said the 100 volunteers from his state worked tirelessly to ensure a victory for Zaid.
“We took annual leave, left our jobs and families behind to help PKR. The least PKR Selangor could have done is put a roof over our heads and food on the table.
“Why couldn't PKR Selangor with all its resources, state assemblymen and MPs organise an effective campaign?
“The party has been governing the state for two years, and it has failed to carry out such a simple task,” he added.
Apart from this, there were also reports of how PKR leaders only swung into action whenever their chief Anwar Ibrahim comes around.
In one particular housing estate, a source said that PKR Selangor was not involved in the campaigning work there since day one.
“But on the night before polling day, suddenly a PKR Selangor divison took over the ceramah from PAS. It was running about here and there looking busy.
"When Anwar came (for the ceramah), he was given the impression that his PKR boys have been doing all the work,” added the source.
Why did Indian votes swing?
The Sunday by-election also witnessed a swing in Indian support for BN.
In Bukit Beruntung, a local Indian village head, who declined to be named, also blamed PKR Selangor and the state government for this.
He claimed that state exco Dr Xavier Jayakumar promised funds for a temple in the village during the campaign period.
“Until 7pm on the eve of polling day, the money did not come. However, MIC handed RM10,000 a few hours later.
“If the exco (Jayakumar) had given us the money earlier, I would have tried my best to convince the 213 voters in my area to support PKR. But under these circumstances, I could not do anything,” he said.
The village head, who claimed to be a staunch PKR supporter, said the opposition party lost Indian votes because the state government dragged its feet in providing land titles for Tamil schools in the area.
"The state should have done it at least a year ago. It did provide land title for a Tamil school during the campaign period but it was too late,” he said.
He said another reason was that Pakatan Indian leaders, including the MPs and state assemblymen, hardly did any work on the ground.
“They just showed their faces whenever Anwar came,” he said.
Meanwhile, a PKR leader from Perak told FMT that the entire campaign was riddled with holes and poorly organised, especially in the Malay-majority Felda areas.
“Most of the Pakatan leaders were just interested in being speakers at the ceramah instead of helping on the ground.
“In a battlefield, it's important that the soldiers have a leader. But when the leaders go missing, what can the soldiers do?” he asked.