People's Justice Party (Malaysia)

People's Justice Party (Malaysia)
People's Justice Party
Parti Keadilan Rakyat
President Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
Secretary-General Saifuddin Nasution Ismail
Parliamentary Leader Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim
as Opposition Leader
Deputy President Mohamed Azmin Ali
Founded 4 April 1999
Headquarters Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Newspaper Suara Keadilan
Youth wing Angkatan Muda KeADILan Malaysia
Ideology Social Justice, Progressivism,
Liberal Democracy
Political position Centre
National affiliation Barisan Alternatif (1999–2004)
Pakatan Rakyat (2008–present)
International affiliation Liberal International (observer)[1]
Official colors white, red, blue
Seats in Dewan Rakyat
24 / 222
Politics of Malaysia
Political parties

The People's Justice Party (Malay: Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PKR), often known simply as KeADILan) is a centrist political party in Malaysia formed in 2003 by a merger of the National Justice Party and the older Malaysian People's Party. Keadilan was led by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and increased its parliamentary representation from 1 seat to 31 seats in the Malaysian general election, 2008 until the five-year political ban imposed on former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was lifted on 14 April 2008.

Keadilan promotes an agenda with a strong social justice and anti-corruption emphasis. Recently the party adopted a platform that seeks to abolish the New Economic Policy and replace it with a policy that emphasises on a non-ethnic approach in poverty eradication and correcting economic imbalances.



The early years

1997 saw the economy of Malaysia affected by what is now known as the Asian Economic Crisis. The Finance Minister, Anwar Ibrahim (also Deputy Prime Minister), instituted a series of economic reforms and austerity measures in response. These actions were exacerbated when he tabled controversial amendments to the Anti Corruption Act that sought to increase the powers of the Anti Corruption Agency.[2] Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad disagreed with these measures and ultimately sacked Anwar from all his posts.[3]

This incident and the circumstances in which it happened led to a public outcry in what became known as the Reformasi movement but it also resulted in the arrest and subsequent incarceration of Anwar on what many believe to be politically motivated charges of sexual misconduct and corruption.[4]

Building on the momentum of the Reformasi, a political movement Social Justice Movement (Malay: Pergerakan Keadilan Sosial) (Adil) was formed and led by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, wife of Anwar Ibrahim. But facing difficulties in registering Adil as a political party, the reformasi movement took over a small party Ikatan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia and launched as National Justice Party (Malay: Parti Keadilan Nasional) on 4 April 1999, just in time to face the 1999 general elections. The party was joined by the Democratic Action Party (DAP), the Malaysian People's Party (PRM) and the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) in a broad based electoral alliance known as Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front) to take on the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition in the 1999 general elections.


Between 27 and 30 September 1999, seven activists, including Keadilan leaders; Vice-President Tian Chua,N.Gobalakrishnan, Youth leader Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor, Mohamed Azmin Ali, Fairus Izuddin and Dr Badrul Amin Baharun; were arrested and as a result prevented from contesting in the elections.[5] Further arrests were made on 10 April 2001 and those arrested were subsequently charged and incarcerated under the Internal Security Act.[6] They became known as the Reformasi 10.[7]

1999 general elections

The party entered the campaign with many of its key leaders under arrest and as a result saw it winning only five parliamentary seats in the elections despite gaining 11.67% of the total votes cast. The Barisan Alternatif as a whole gained 40.21% of the total votes cast with PAS gaining 27 seats and DAP gaining ten seats.

Merger with Parti Rakyat Malaysia

The post election period saw negotiations between Keadilan and Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) on a possible merger.[8] Despite some opposition in both parties to the move,[9][10] a 13 point Memorandum of Understanding was eventually signed by the two parties on 5 July 2002.[11]

On 3 August 2003, the new merged entity was officially launched and assumed its current name.[12]

2004 general elections

As the new amendments to the party constitution had yet to be approved by the Registrar of Societies, candidates from PRM contested the 2004 General Elections using the symbol of the old National Justice Party.[13]

The party fared poorly in the elections and only managed to defend one parliamentary seat, despite winning 9% of the popular vote. The poor showing was later attributed to malapportionment and gerrymandering in the delineation of constituencies, with one estimate suggesting that on average, a vote for the Barisan Nasional government was worth 28 times the vote of a Keadilan supporter.[14]

Anwar Ibrahim freed

On 2 September 2004, in a decision by the Federal Court, Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy conviction was overturned and he was freed. This unexpected turn of events came timely for Keadilan which was facing flagging morale due to its dismal performance in the elections.

2008 General Elections

In the 2008 elections, Keadilan won 31 seats in Parliament, with DAP and PAS making substantial gains as well with 28 seats and 23 seats respectively. In total, the taking of 82 seats by the opposition to Barisan Nasional's 140 seats, makes it the best performance in Malaysian history by the opposition, and denies Barisan Nasional the two-thirds majority required to make constitutional changes in the Dewan Rakyat.

Keadilan also successfully contested the state legislative elections which saw the loose coalition of Keadilan, DAP and PAS forming coalition governments in the states of Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor. The offices of the Menteri Besar of Selangor and the Deputy Chief Minister of Penang are held by Keadilan elected representatives, Khalid Ibrahim and Mohd Fairus Khairuddin, respectively.

Anwar's return to politics

On 14 April 2008, Anwar celebrated his official return to the political stage, as his ban from public office expires a decade after he was sacked as deputy prime minister. One of the main reasons the opposition seized a third of parliamentary seats and five states in the worst ever showing for the Barisan Nasional coalition that has ruled for half a century, was due to him leading at the helm.[15] A gathering of more than 10,000 supporters greeted Anwar in a rally welcoming back his return to politics. In the midst of the rally, police interrupted Anwar after he had addressed the rally for nearly half an hour and forced him to stop the gathering.[16]

Malaysia's government has intensified efforts on 6 March to portray opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim as a political turncoat, days ahead of Malaysian general election, 2008 on 8 March that would determine whether he poses a legitimate threat to the ruling coalition.[17] Campaigning wrapped up 7 March for general elections that could see gains for Malaysia's opposition amid anger over race and religion among minority Chinese and Indians.[18] Malaysians voted 8 March 2008 in parliamentary elections.[18] Election results showed that the ruling government suffered a setback when it failed to obtain two-thirds majority in parliament, and five out of 12 state legislatures were won by the opposition parties.[19] Reasons for the setback of the ruling party, which has retained power since the nation declared independence in 1957, are the rising inflation, crime and ethnic tensions.[20]

Permatang Pauh by-election

Malaysia's government and ruling coalition declared defeat in a landslide victory in by-election by Anwar Ibrahim. Muhammad Muhammad Taib, information chief of the United Malays National Organisation which leads the Barisan Nasional coalition stated: Yes of course we have lost . . . we were the underdogs going into this race.[21] Malaysia's Election Commission officials announced Anwar won by an astounding majority against Arif Shah Omar Shah of National Front coalition and over Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).[22] Reuters reported "Anwar Ibrahim has won with a majority of 16,210 votes, according to news website Malaysiakini Anwar won 26,646 votes, while the government's Arif Omar won 10,436 votes.[23] Anwar's People's Justice Party spokeswoman Ginie Lim told BBC: "We won already. We are far ahead."[24]

On 28 August 2008, Anwar, dressed in a dark blue traditional Malay outfit and black "songkok" hat, took the oath at the main chamber of Parliament house in Kuala Lumpur, as MP for Permatang Pauh at 10.03 am before Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia. He formally declared Anwar the leader of the 3-party opposition alliance. With his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and his daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar, also a parliamentarian, Anwar announced: "I'm glad to be back after a decade. The prime minister has lost the mandate of the country and the nation."[25][26] Anwar needs at least 30 government lawmakers especially from Sabah and Sarawak MPs' votes to defect in order to form a government.[27][28]

Other Developments

In December 2005 Keadilan organised its second national congress.[29] Among the motions passed was the New Economic Agenda[30] that envisioned a non-racial economic policy to replace the race-based New Economic Policy.

Keadilan managed a breakthrough into Sarawak politics in May 2006. In Sarawak state elections, Dominique Ng, a lawyer and activist, won in the Padungan constituency in Kuching, a majority Chinese locale. Keadilan lost narrowly in Saribas, a Malay-Melanau constituency by just 94 votes. Sarawak is a traditional Barisan Nasional stronghold.

Keadilan has also pursued an aggressive strategy of getting key personalities from within and outside politics. In July 2006, Khalid Ibrahim, former CEO of Permodalan Nasional Berhad and Guthrie (Malaysia), was appointed as Treasurer of the Keadilan. K.S. Nallakarupan, a former Malaysian Indian Congress Youth, and Jeffrey Kitingan, a popular Kadazan politician and brother of Joseph Pairin Kitingan, president of the Barisan Nasional-aligned Parti Bersatu Sabah, have also recently joined the party.

On 25 July 2009 ex-MIC vice president Datuk S.S. Subramaniam and the members of 12 MIC branches from within Petaling Jaya and Meru, Klang defected from MIC and joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat.[31]

PKR Members of the 12th Parliament of Malaysia

PKR currently has 24 MPs.

  • Kelantan
    • P26 – Ketereh – Ab Aziz Ab Kadir
    • P27 – Tanah Merah – Amran Ab Ghani
    • P29 – Machang – Saifuddin Nasution Ismail


Keadilan's constitution has as one of her core principles,[32] the establishment of "a society that is just and a nation that is democratic, progressive and united". In practice, the party has primarily focused on promoting social justice,[33] economic justice,[34][35] eliminating political corruption[36] and human rights issues[37] within a non-ethnic framework.


Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy Allegations

At 11.03 pm on 29 June 2008, online news portal Malaysiakini reported that an aide of Anwar Ibrahim had lodged a police report claiming that he had been sodomised by Anwar. The news has since been updated with reports that SMS messages are being distributed claiming that the person who made the report is Anwar's aide, Saiful Bahari, who was arrested earlier today and allegedly forced to make a false confession. The same SMS message also claimed the possibility of Anwar being arrested later today.[38]

Anwar has since denied the allegations claiming that that it was a complete fabrication and made in retaliation against him due to his recent acquisition of evidence that implicates the current Inspector General of the Police, Musa Hassan, and the Attorney General, Abdul Gani Patail, in misconduct including fabrication of evidence used against him during the 1998–1999 trials for corruption and sodomy.[39]

Suara Keadilan Publication License Suspended

In June 2010, Suara Keadilan's publication was suspended for publishing a report which claimed a government agency is bankrupt. Suara Keadilan is run by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan party. The Home Ministry, which oversees Malaysia's newspapers, said it was not satisfied with the paper's explanation for the allegedly inaccurate report.Malaysia suspends main opposition newspaper.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Liberal International, Retrieved on 17 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Lim Kit Siang". Lim Kit Siang. 10 September 1999. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Garry Rodan, Fellow, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Australia Transparency, Asian Economic Crisis and the Prospects of Media Liberalisation
  4. ^ Amnesty International The arrest of Anwar Ibrahim and his political associates
  5. ^ Aliran : The Rakyat have Awakened and They want Justice
  6. ^ Amnesty Internation : Malaysia: Fear of torture or ill-treatment / incommunicado detention / prisoners of conscience
  7. ^ Human Rights Watch : The Anwar Case and the Reformasi 10
  8. ^ Kyodo News Internation : Anwar's party sees future in merger with socialists
  9. ^ Malaysiakini : PRM votes to dissolve, merge with Keadilan
  10. ^ Malaysiakini : Abim faction’s opposition to Keadilan-PRM merger plan triggers party split
  11. ^ Malaysiakini : Leadership transition details included in Keadilan, PRM merger MoU
  12. ^ Malaysiakini : PKR launched, promises to be truly multi-racial
  13. ^ Malaysiakini PRM to contest elections under ally's symbol
  14. ^ Surin, Jacqueline Ann (22 Jan. 2007). German electoral system more democratic. The Sun.
  15. ^ "Malaysian opposition leader Anwar marks end of political ban" 14 April 2008, AFP
  16. ^ "Malaysia Police Halt Anwar Speech" 14 April 2008, AFP
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  19. ^ "Asia-Pacific | Election setback for Malaysia PM". BBC News. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  20. ^ [3][dead link]
  21. ^ ", Malaysian government declares by-election defeat to Anwar". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  22. ^ ", Malaysia's Anwar wins by landslide in election". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  23. ^ ", Website says Anwar wins Malaysia vote with big majority". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  24. ^ ", Malaysia's Anwar claims vote win". BBC News. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  25. ^, Anwar sworn in as member of Malaysian parliament[dead link]
  26. ^ Aziz, Faisal. ", NEWSMAKER – Malaysia Anwar sworn in, ends political exile". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  27. ^ (AFP) – 27 Aug 2008 (27 August 2008). ", Malaysia's Anwar returns to parliament". Google. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  28. ^, 28 August 2008: Anwar sworn in, appointed as Opposition Leader[dead link]
  29. ^ Malaysia Today : "keADILan akan adakan kongres kedua"
  30. ^ Anwar Ibrahim : New Economic Agenda
  31. ^ "MIC leader joins list of defections from BN to PKR". Malaysian Insider. 25 July 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  32. ^ PKR : Core Principles
  33. ^ PKR : KeADILan questions progress of gender equality
  34. ^ PKR : Fair share of oil revenue for Sabah: Jeffrey
  35. ^ The Sun : Time for a non-race based agenda
  36. ^ PKR : Education Expenditure & Contracts
  37. ^ PKR (AP) : Malaysian opposition politician arrested at protest over village demolition
  38. ^ "Aide alleges sodomy: Report lodged". Malaysiakini (Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd). 28 June 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  39. ^ "Press statement on police report" (Press release). Parti KeADILan Rakyat. 29 June 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 

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