People's Justice Party (Malaysia)
The People's Justice Party (Malay: Parti Keadilan Rakyat, often known simply as KEADILAN or PKR) is a centre-left multiracial political party in Malaysia, formed in 2003 by a merger of the National Justice Party and the older Malaysian People's Party (PRM). The party was led by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and increased its parliamentary representation from one seat to 31 seats in the 2008 general election, until the five-year political ban imposed on former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was lifted on 14 April 2008. The party is now the largest party in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that formed the government after a 60-year-long tenure by the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 2018 election. It enjoys strong support from urban states such as Selangor, Penang and Johor.
Rénmín gōngzhèng dǎng
|Malay name||Parti Keadilan Rakyat|
ڤرتي كعاديلن رعيت
|Tamil name||மக்கள் நீதி கட்சி|
Makkaḷ nīti kaṭci
|Secretary-General||Saifuddin Nasution Ismail|
|Spokesperson||Shamsul Iskandar Md. Akin|
|Deputy President||Mohamed Azmin Ali|
Xavier Jayakumar Arulanandam
Chang Lih Kang
|AMK's Chief||Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir|
|Women's Chief||Haniza Talha|
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
|Founded||10 December 1998 (Formation of Pergerakan Keadilan Sosial NGO)|
4 April 1999 (Takeover of Ikatan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia and renamed Parti Keadilan Nasional)
3 August 2003 (Merger with Parti Rakyat Malaysia and renamed Parti Keadilan Rakyat)
|Merger of||Parti Keadilan Nasional and Parti Rakyat Malaysia (3 August 2003)|
|Preceded by||Ikatan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia;|
Parti Keadilan Nasional and Parti Rakyat Malaysia
|Headquarters||A-1-09, Merchant Square, Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1, 47410 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia|
|Think tank||Institut Rakyat|
|Student wing||Mahasiswa Keadilan|
|Youth wing||Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK)|
|Women's wing||Wanita Keadilan|
|Women's youth wing||Srikandi Keadilan|
|National affiliation||Barisan Alternatif (1999–2004)|
Pakatan Rakyat (2008–2015)
Pakatan Harapan (2015–present)
|International affiliation||Liberal International (observer)|
|Colours||Light blue, red, white|
|Slogan||Keadilan Untuk Semua|
Lawan Tetap Lawan
Membujur Lalu Melintang Patah
|Anthem||Arus Perjuangan Bangsa|
6 / 70
50 / 222
|Dewan Undangan Negeri:|
70 / 591
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The party promotes an agenda with a strong emphasis on social justice and anti-corruption. Recently, the party adopted a platform that seeks to abolish the New Economic Policy and replace it with a policy with an emphasis on a non-ethnic approach in poverty eradication and correcting economic imbalances. It is one of the four component parties of the government coalition in Malaysia, Pakatan Harapan (PH).
The early years
The year 1997 saw the Malaysian economy being affected by the Asian financial crisis. The Finance Minister at the time, Anwar Ibrahim (also a 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. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad disagreed with these measures and ultimately sacked Anwar from all his posts. 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 believed to be politically motivated charges of sexual misconduct and corruption.
Building on the momentum of the Reformasi, a political movement called the Social Justice Movement (Malay: Pergerakan Keadilan Sosial) (ADIL) was launched on 10 December 1998. It was led by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, wife of Anwar. But, facing difficulties in registering Adil as a political party, the reformasi movement took over a small dormant party formed in 1991, Ikatan Masyarakat Islam Malaysia (IKATAN), and relaunched it as the National Justice Party (Malay: Parti Keadilan Nasional) on 4 April 1999, just in time to take part in the 1999 general elections. The party has been noted as having rough similarities with the now-defunct multi-racial social democratic Parti Keadilan Masyarakat Malaysia (Pekemas). The party was joined by the Democratic Action Party (DAP), the Malaysian People's Party (PRM) and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) in a broadly based electoral alliance known as Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front) to take on the ruling BN 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. Further arrests were made on 10 April 2001 and those arrested were subsequently charged and incarcerated under the Internal Security Act (ISA). They became known as the Reformasi 10.
1999 general election
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. Despite some opposition in both parties to the move, a 13-point Memorandum of Understanding was eventually signed by the two parties on 5 July 2002. On 3 August 2003, the new merged entity was officially launched and assumed its current name. Somehow, as PRM had yet to be de-registered by the authorities, the remained dissidents convened a National Congress in Johor Bahru and elected a new Executive Committee led by former PRM youth leader, Hassan Abdul Karim to resume political activities on 17 April 2005.
2004 general election
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 election using the symbol of the old National Justice Party. The party fared poorly in the elections and only managed to retain one parliamentary seat, Permatang Pauh which is held by Dr Wan Azizah, 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 BN government was worth 28 times the vote of a Keadilan supporter.
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 election
In the 2008 elections, PKR won 31 seats in Parliament, with the 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 BN's 140 seats made it the best performance in Malaysian history by the opposition, and denied BN the two-thirds majority required to make constitutional changes in the Dewan Rakyat.
PKR also successfully contested the state legislative elections which saw the loose coalition of PKR, 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 were 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 expired 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 BN coalition that has ruled for half a century, was due to him leading at the helm. 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.
Malaysia's government intensified its efforts on 6 March to portray opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim as political turncoats, days ahead of Malaysian general election, 2008 on 8 March that would determine whether he posed a legitimate threat to the ruling coalition. Campaigning wrapped up 7 March for general elections that would see gains for Malaysia's opposition amid anger over race and religion among minority Chinese and Indians. Malaysians voted on 8 March 2008 in parliamentary elections. 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. Reasons for the setback of the ruling party, which had retained power since the nation declared independence in 1957, were the rising inflation, crime and ethnic tensions.
Permatang Pauh by-election
Malaysia's government and ruling coalition declared defeat in a landslide victory in the by-election by Anwar Ibrahim. Muhammad Muhammad Taib, information chief of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) which leads the BN coalition stated: Yes of course we have lost . . . we were the underdogs going into this race. 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 UMNO. Reuters reported that according to news website Malaysiakini, Anwar Ibrahim had won with a majority of 16,210 votes. He had won 26,646 votes, while BN's Arif Omar won 10,436 votes. Anwar's People's Justice Party's spokeswoman Ginie Lim told BBC: "We won already. We are far ahead".
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". Anwar needed at least 30 government lawmakers especially from Sabah and Sarawak MPs' votes to defect to form a government.
In December 2005 PKR organised its second national congress. Among the motions passed was the New Economic Agenda that envisioned a non-racial economic policy to replace the race-based New Economic Policy. PKR 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 BN stronghold. PKR 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, was appointed as Treasurer of the PKR.
In 2014, the Party's Strategy Director then Vice-President-cum-Secretary-General, Rafizi Ramli initiated the failed Kajang Move in a bid to topple the 14th Menteri Besar of Selangor, Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, and install the party's de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim as his replacement. The political manoeuvre resulted in a nine-month political crisis within the state of Selangor and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, that also involved the palace of Selangor, a by-election costing RM1.6 million in taxpayers’ money, the party losing one seat in Selangor's assembly and Malaysian Parliament. PKR also ended up not getting the Menteri Besar that it wanted. The crisis concluded with the appointment of PKR's Deputy President, Azmin Ali, as the 15th Menteri Besar of Selangor. Most analysts say that the Kajang Move was a great failure.
Anwar Ibrahim contested as PH's candidates in the Port Dickson by-election, 2018, dubbed as 'PD Move' and he won with large majority to the parliament again.
PKR’s constitution has as one of her core principles, 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, economic justice, eliminating political corruption and human rights issues within a non-ethnic framework.
Structure and membership
Current office bearers
Dewan Negara (Senate)
Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)
Members of Parliament of the 14th Malaysian Parliament
PKR has 50 members in the House of Representatives.
Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly)
Malaysian State Assembly Representatives
General election results
|Election||Total seats won||Seat Contested||Total votes||Share of votes||Outcome of election||Election leader|
5 / 193
|?||773,679||11.67%||Wan Azizah Wan Ismail|
1 / 219
|?||617,518||8.9%||Wan Azizah Wan Ismail|
31 / 222
|?||1,509,080||18.58%||Wan Azizah Wan Ismail|
30 / 222
50 / 222
|84||2,046,484||17.10%||Wan Azizah Wan Ismail|
State election results
Sodomy allegations against Anwar Ibrahim
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 Bukhari, 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.
Anwar has since denied the allegations claiming 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.
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 PKR party. The Home Ministry, which oversees Malaysia's newspapers, said it was not satisfied with the paper's explanation for the allegedly inaccurate report.
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