KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Vice President Rafizi Ramli, who challenges Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali to the vice president, aims to set up a PKR cooperative (co-op).
Rafizi, who was here to campaign for the deputy president during the party elections expected in November, is optimistic that the membership of the party will be one million next year.
PKR currently has more than 900,000 members across the country.
"I am confident that our membership will reach a million next year." If 200,000 of these one million each contribute RM50, we can easily collect RM 100 million in a year.
"With this RM100 million we can do a lot of things for our members, and we can set up a co-op to ensure the well-being and benefits of PKR members," he said yesterday in a hotel here.
According to him, the RM 100 million will serve as starting capital for the proposed cooperative.
"With this money we can share between the members.
"If this fund is professionally managed, we can reach more members at the basic level," he said.
Rafizi claimed that Azmin, the Minister of Economic Affairs, is not a leader who takes care of party members at the lowest level.
Now that PKR is a member of the federal government, he said that there is no reason for the party not to take care of the welfare of its members.
When he is elected, Rafizi says he will defend the status and rights of Sarawak.
He noted that quite a few political leaders of the peninsula of Malaysia tended to say one thing in Sarawak and another in Peninsular Malaysia.
"When they were in Sarawak, they would say they would fight for the rights of Sarawak and the status of one of the three founding partners in Malaysia.
"But when they returned to the peninsula of Malaysia, they did not raise it at all.
"This is one reason why many people in the Malaysia Peninsula still regard Sarawak and Sabah as one of the states in Malaysia, and not as one of the four entities that formed Malaysia in 1963," he said.
He said that the Federation of Malaya together with Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo, now Sabah, met in 1963 to form Malaysia.
Rafizi promised that he would recognize Sarawak and Sabah as the founding partners
instead of two Bornean states in Malaysia.
"The vice president of PKR (Azmin Ali) should tell the people in the peninsula of Malaysia that Sarawak and Sabah are the founding partners.
"If we continue to regard Sarawak and Sabah as two of the 13 states in Malaysia, then there is no difference between us and Umno," he said.
A large number of PKR members in Sarawak attended the event to show their support to Rafizi.
The PKR election system is different from other political parties in Malaysia, as each member has the right to decide on leadership.
Voting at division level began on 24 August and is taking weeks, with the results expected to be announced in November.
The vice-presidential fight between Azmin and Rafizi is one of the highlights of the party election. Among the PKR members of Sarawak who supported Rafizi were Julau MP Larry Sng and Lubok Antu MP Jugah Muyang.