Will Zuraida be the fall guy in PKR row?

PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin speaks during the ‘SPV 2030’ dinner at Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin speaks during the ‘SPV 2030’ dinner at Hotel Renaissance Kuala Lumpur December 8, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

COMMENTARY, Dec 13 — The fierce infighting in PKR between president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his deputy Datuk Seri Azmin Ali seems to have subsided.

The lull does not mean they will reconcile. There are demands for punishment.

Of their supporters, PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin has been the most vocal in backing Azmin.

Calls for her expulsion are getting louder from Anwar’s faction and she may be the “fall guy” so the two leaders can make up.

Anwar has a soft spot for Azmin. He tries to accommodate Azmin’s “weaknesses” towards him, but not Zuraida’s.

The Wanita PKR chief is not a leader that supporters of either faction favour much.

They will not have much sympathy for Zuraida if she becomes the “fall guy” so both leaders and factions can unite.

The two leaders seem to have reached some kind of ceasefire. Both have stopped openly attacking each other but their supporters are still privately hostile.

Those on Anwar’s side want Azmin and Zuraida’s blood. Those on Azmin’s side want Anwar to openly apologise and meet them personally to reconcile.

Both sides seem adamant. The violence and fighting at the PKR national congress showed this.

Calls for Anwar to expel Azmin and Zuraida are growing. Both leaders are alleged to have attempted a “mutiny”.

But Anwar has a soft spot for Azmin. Azmin has been by his side since 1998.

Azmin stayed by his side with Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Nurul Izzah Anwar to build up the Reformasi movement into a political party that is now part of the ruling Pakatan Harapan.

The animosity began when Azmin was appointed economic affairs minister by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. This created talk that the prime minister favoured Azmin to succeed him over Anwar.

Such talk made Anwar’s supporters pressure Dr Mahathir into saying when he will hand power to Anwar.

The issue was fuelled by Azmin saying Dr Mahathir should serve his full term.

Supported by Zuraida, the most outspoken vice-president of the party, Azmin’s faction had verbal clashes with Anwar’s faction, worsening their rift.

Then came the purported Azmin video, which created a blame game between their supporters and widened the rift more.

The peak of the crisis was the “battle” in Melaka that saw Azmin gather his supporters in Kuala Lumpur while Anwar’s faction in Melaka criticised them.

Given the current scenario, it is impossible one person has to go to allow for Anwar and Azmin to make up peacefully.

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