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After Anwar's denial, leaked email points to PKR's membership of LI

What started as a controversy over PKR's association with a pro-Israeli group has developed into a credibility crisis for the party.

2 minute read

The emergence of a leaked email from Liberal International (LI) to PKR in 2017 appears to contradict the claim by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim that his party had never been a member of the UK-based group, whose sympathetic statement for Israel has drawn condemnation from Malaysian politicians.

A screenshot of the email from LI to Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah in 2017 began making the rounds just hours after Anwar's denial in the Dewan Rakyat today.

In the email, LI's William Townsend expressed hope that Nurul Izzah could attend a convention in Andorra to represent PKR.

"We are expecting a strong turnout of Liberals from around the world and have taken a new approach to the formulation on the congress programme, which promises to be lively, informative and a great opportunity for expanding the party's political network," Townsend wrote.

He also reminded her of PKR's outstanding membership fees for the years 2016 and 2017.

MalaysiaNow can confirm the authenticity of the email.

The copy of the email came hours after Anwar, speaking during the Prime Minister's Question Time, denied that PKR was part of LI despite past reports and statements from the group addressing PKR as a "full member".

"We have never been a member. We were an 'associate' at the initial stage, but due to some of their decisions, including their recognition of the LGBT and the stance on Israel, we did not become a member," said Anwar.

A source in PKR told MalaysiaNow that the episode pointed to a public relations disaster for the party, adding that its information chief Fahmi Fadzil must take responsibility.

"It was an unnecessary crisis, one that requires honesty and truth. Fahmi bungled from the start by denying PKR was a member and then threatening legal action against critics.

"This is no longer about our stance on Israel, it's not an issue. The issue is whether we have been caught lying," said the source who has served as an aide to several current and former PKR leaders.

Also read: FB obliges govt request to block post on PKR links with group that sympathised with Israel

LI, which brings together political parties around the world, describes itself as a federation of "liberal and progressive democratic political parties".

The group had supported Anwar during his imprisonment while questioning the country's judicial independence.

In 2015, then PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail addressed LI’s executive committee meeting in Zurich, Switzerland where she highlighted the plight of her jailed husband.

The meeting later adopted a unanimous resolution on the "struggle for justice" in Malaysia.