Several political observers were taken aback when PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution was appointed as the ‘strategic advisor’ for Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng recently.
The observers wondered on why Saifuddin, who holds a strategic post within PKR, was not given a similar position in Selangor under the stewardship of own party man Azmin Ali, instead been given in a northern state by another party.
It is believed that Saifuddin being placed in Penang was a strategic move done by the PKR party leadership to further strengthen the relationship within the Pakatan Harapan component parties in the northern region.
Saifuddin is said to be popular among PKR Malay grassroots in Penang and has been stationed in a move to solidify and consolidate Pakatan Harapan in Penang.
He will be instrumental in garnering Malay votes for DAP to further strengthen its grip in the state.
Apart from focusing Penang, Saifuddin could also use to launch election campaign machinery for other neighbouring states like Kedah, Perlis, Perak and Kelantan.
Why Saifuddin was required in Kelantan?
Saifuddin used to serve as a director for ‘Tabung Amanah Tok Kenali’ a government-link company (GLC) when the late PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was Kelantan menteri besar.
During the time, Saifuddin had built strong working ties amongst grassroots.
Hence, PKR believed Saifuddin could repair the currently sour relationship with PAS.
In addition, Saifuddin was a former Machang MP between 2008 and 2013, before he lost in Kulim-Bandar Baharu parliament seat in the 13th General Election (GE13).
DAP saw that Saifuddin could be ‘key-man’ to further gather the Malay support at the areas the party was weak.
There is good chance if Saifuddin could prove his worth in the upcoming general election, he stand a chance to be appointed as the next Penang Deputy Chief Minister I (DCM1).
DAP struggling to woo Malays
It is speculated that DAP was not able to muster Malay support in Penang.
So the party needs a ‘strategy-man’ like Saifuddin, who is also in good books of Guan Eng, to do the job in attracting the Malay voters.
Perhaps PKR from the headquarters sending a ‘messenger’ like Saifuddin to further empower PKR in Penang and attempt to win more seats along DAP.
Whether Saifuddin could prove to be worthy is questionable.
No doubt he was a staunch ally of Anwar Ibrahim since their Umno days and preferred by the present PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Saifuddin latest appointment at Level 28 Komtar in George Town would be an acid test for his own credentials.
He needs to prove his worth and raise his stature within the PKR to boost his chances to compete for a strong position in the next party election, which is due to take place after the 14th General Election (GE14).
We shall wait and see whether Saifuddin could pull a rabbit out of the hat and prove his worth for PKR, DAP and Pakatan Harapan.