• Malay Mail

Wong Chen sees a stronger, more diverse PKR post-GE15

By Soo Wern Jun, Malay Mail (1 June 2022) KUALA LUMPUR, June 1PKR was a truly multicultural party, said Subang MP Wong Chen, who predicted that its diversity would increase with the next generation of leaders. Since entering the party in 2009, Wong said he has seen the party go through a major transformation and is continuing to build toward becoming stronger and more relevant by appealing to multicultural Malaysia. “When I first joined PKR, there were still racial elements. You know, there was a (WhatsApp chat) group called PKR Chinese and another group called PKR Indians; there was always a sense that it’s not truly multiracial.

“But five years later, by the 2013 election, I could see it all changed, it is really multiracial even by looking at the two camps within the party competing during party elections,” Wong told Malay Mail during an interview. Wong said this was something special about PKR, and that its multiracial element was genuine rather than tokenism. “It’s really real, and that is the biggest hope we have for PKR. Multiracialism in PKR is infectious and real, it is even reflected in my office. We stopped looking at colour and race,” he added. Although the party is currently going through a transition, Wong said he was confident that under the leaders of the future, possibly those such as former Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, the party will flourish. “Rafizi and Izzah are Malaysian leaders, and that’s what PKR will stand for in the future.

“For every succession plan every party will go through a down period. But in the future, I still see PKR as growing more relevant, stronger and more multiracial,” he said.

He added multiculturalism and progressiveness were the natural trajectories for countries as they become more wealthy and educated. “If we can do that there is a lot of hope in this country, the process is going to be tough, but what we don’t want is like the situation in the Philippines where [Filipinos] are willing to forgive the Marcos and bringing the son back into power, or Najib (former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak) coming back into power.

“If that kind of culture comes to Malaysia, it’s going to be very problematic in the country,” he said.

Last month, the Philippines welcomed the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr, as the country’s 17th president. The Marcos family has a history filled with repression, cronyism, and kleptocracy, and exercised the martial law regime in the early 1980s.

Wong was addressing recent news reports indicating that party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that he will head PKR for at least one more election cycle as part of a succession plan.

PKR just concluded its party election which saw Rafizi Ramli being appointed as the new deputy president. Wong had said that the eventual winner will be the next person to lead PKR in the coming elections after the GE15. “If this truly is Anwar’s last election, what he’s doing is to create a succession plan, that’s the idea.

“We have seen the DAP transition from [former secretary-general Lim Guan Eng] to [current secretary-general] Anthony Loke, I think we will see in the next five years or so, more and more political parties doing that.

“It is likely a period for generational change, of some sort, we shall see,” he said.