KUCHING: Pakatan Harapan must maintain its integrity and principles as it faces the prospect of crossovers from Umno, says PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. “We are a democratic country, but we must maintain our integrity as a coalition with principles that stand against corruption and racism,” he said. “This is why when I was asked by Umno MPs about joining (PKR), I was very cautious. I told them to stay where they are first and let us discuss the matter in more detail so that the rakyat will not have the perception that we are shifting from the principles of our struggle,” he added. Anwar was asked to comment on reports that six more Umno MPs quit the party after a number of Sabah Umno elected representatives and division heads resigned. He also said concerns over the Umno exodus were raised by Sarawak PKR division chiefs. “They were worried that Pakatan’s spirit would be eroded, but I gave assurance that Pakatan will hold on to its principles even if we have new members,” he said after chairing a Sarawak PKR meeting here on Friday (Dec 14). Asked whether there was any discussion on the new Sarawak PKR chairman, Anwar joked that the division chiefs unanimously chose him. He said the state chairman would be appointed in consultation with the division chiefs in accordance with the party constitution. He also said incumbent state chairman Baru Bian had informed earlier that he was unable to attend the meeting as he had a programme in his constituency. Earlier, Miri MP Dr Michael Teo told reporters that he was challenging Baru to be the next state chairman.
“Yes, I’m offering myself. Anybody can offer themselves,” he said, adding that he planned to organise a good team for the next state election due in 2021 should he be picked as state chairman.