Webinar on “Recurring Themes in the Politics of Parti Keadilan Rakyat”

In this webinar, Prof Khoo Boo Teik discussed five themes of PKR’s politics, namely: its origin and evolution in crises; stress on coalition-building; commitment to multiethnic politics; ‘humane economy’ as reform agenda; and unique bond with Anwar.


Friday, 26 November 2021 – The ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute invited Professor Khoo Boo Teik to deliver a webinar on the common threads in the history of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR or People’s Justice Party). Prof Khoo is Professor Emeritus at the National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies, Tokyo and the author of “Paradoxes of Mahathirism: An Intellectual Biography of Mahathir Mohamad”. He was also Visiting Senior Fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute from April to September 2021.

Prof Khoo Boo Teik spoke at the webinar. Dr Norshahril Saat, Senior Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, was moderator of the session. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Prof Khoo began the presentation with an overview on the creation of PKR, which was intricately tied to the political and economic crisis which Malaysia faced during the late 1990s. From its establishment, the party has emphasised on justice – as encapsulated within the party’s name – while drawing influence from the “Reformasi” movement. The party was able to garner support from a diverse mix of racial groups, which further cemented its credentials as a multi-racial party championing for reforms against racial politics practised by then ruling Barisan Nasional (BN). Prof Khoo argued that one of the party’s greatest contribution was the role of Anwar Ibrahim to draw together the various opposition parties into one coalition, starting with Barisan Alternatif (BA) to the present Pakatan Harapan (PH).

In the question-and-answer session, topics raised include the credibility of Anwar Ibrahim as the leader of PH, leadership succession within PKR, and the party’s poor performance in the recent Melaka state election. The webinar drew 70 participants.