PKR endgame in sight if besieged Azmin runs for president

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali attend PKR’s 20th anniversary celebrations at Dataran Rantau, Negri Sembilan April 4, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali attend PKR’s 20th anniversary celebrations at Dataran Rantau, Negri Sembilan April 4, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

COMMENTARY, June 18 — PKR is heading for self-destruction as the two top party leaders — president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali — attack each other behind the scenes, following the leak of sex videos implicating Azmin.

Anwar has categorically denied his supporters were involved in the so-called exposé by PKR member Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz, while Azmin insists it was an inside job, an opinion shared by some political observers.

The war of words has aggravated the rift between the two leaders and their respective supporters.

But the fact is the video has done damage to not just Azmin, who is the Minister of Economic Affairs under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Cabinet, it went further to tarnish and run down the good name of the government.

And it affected PKR so much so that the party is now viewed as a liability by Pakatan Harapan (PH) partners.

This time around, all eyes are on PKR and the top two leaders, which made Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who holds no position in the party, a more reliable and capable leader.

Anwar, who seems patiently waiting for the PM’s post as verbally agreed upon before the 2018 election, is under pressure by his supporters and probably by partner parties in PH to get the exact date of the handover from Dr Mahathir.

The pressure is building momentum as Dr Mahathir seems more trusting towards Azmin now as the latter shows his capabilities and wisdom as a leader and minister, which probably worries Anwar supporters.

Anwar’s supporters feel if Anwar misses the opportunity this time around, he will never again have a second chance and the situation is worse if Azmin is chosen as the country’s next prime minister.

PKR is now totally broken into two — no longer just a split or crack — as both leaders can be seen having a go at each other indirectly.

The party faces self-destruction as the Anwar-Azmin spat is no longer containable. If Dr Mahathir does not dissolve Parliament and call for a snap general election, Azmin has no choice but to go for the president’s post in the PKR party election in two years’ time.

The present spat following the sex video scandal will probably force Azmin to end “the hauntings and the distrust from within” by contesting the president’s post — the endgame in PKR.

Since the formation of PKR, Anwar has never really led the party as he had been in and out of jail for his two sodomy cases. Only after last year’s general election was he given back the presidency.

But times have changed, and so have political allegiances as well as the needs and interests of PKR members, which makes Anwar’s position very unstable in the party, subsequently affecting the planned handover of the PM’s post.

Thus, PKR is truly in a royal mess and heading towards destruction unless Anwar and Azmin stop the blame game.

And the winner will be Dr Mahathir who, while wanting to honour his side of the deal, will now have to think twice after seeing his purported successor acting unwisely.

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