Report: Azmin’s rise to power under Dr M worrying Anwar’s men

Azmin, along with Ampang MP and now Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, are thought to be a part of a rival faction within PKR, who are at odds with Anwar and his wife, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Azmin, along with Ampang MP and now Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, are thought to be a part of a rival faction within PKR, who are at odds with Anwar and his wife, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

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PETALING JAYA, June 9 ― PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s appointment to the cabinet as the minister of economic affairs has allegedly alarmed the supporters of his party’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Singapore’s Straits Times reported.

Citing anonymous sources, the daily said Azmin’s Cabinet position could be seen as a power play by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to consolidate his grip on Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Azmin’s appointment is also worrisome to Anwar’s loyalists who see the move could give the Gombak MP considerable power to curb Anwar’s influence within PH.

It said Azmin’s new portfolio will oversee the nation’s biggest companies, including state oil giant Petronas, sovereign wealth fund Khazanah, and savings manager Perbadanan Nasional Berhad, which are collectively worth more than RM1 trillion.

The portfolio also includes the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), Tabung Haji and the other major units and department in charge of aiding Malay entrepreneurs.

“The scope is so wide that earlier plans to place the International Trade and Industry Ministry under the ministry will likely be ditched,” said the source familiar with the restructuring.

Azmin, along with Ampang MP and now Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, are thought to be a part of a rival faction within PKR, who are at odds with Anwar and his wife, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

PKR’s bid for key portfolios such as finance, home affairs, defence or education was turned down days after winning the polls, going instead to other components, DAP, Parti Amanah Negara, and Dr Mahathir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

Despite that, Anwar is seen to act as an in-between the government and the Malay rulers, claiming that he had help solved the impasse with the rulers over the appointment of a new Attorney-General.

The move to empower Azmin by Dr Mahathir is seen as just another strategy from his divide-and-conquer playbook, stemming from his experience in fending off several challenges to his leadership during his first tenure as prime minister from 1981 to 2003, it said.

Dr Mahathir is also seen to move swiftly against the Opposition as he has met with Umno acting president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, and Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg last week alone.

Abang Johari, who leads PBB in Sarawak, is even expected to walk out from Barisan Nasional next week.

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