I have kept an eye on the developments of the race for the deputy presidency of PKR. At least after Anwar won uncontested the presidency. Because before that there was a question as to whether Azmin would challenge Anwar for the presidency.
Interestingly Azmin never came out to address the speculation. In the end it turned out when nominations closed that he was only going to defend his deputy presidency.
In the meantime Rafizi threw his hat into the ring for the deputy presidency, challenging Azmin.
Rafizi’s strategy is to wrap himself tightly around Anwar, even claiming Nurul Izzah in his corner. His primary script is that Azmin is a rival to Anwar, and should be removed.
Azmin’s strategy is to keep above the fray and not respond to Rafizi, except to point to his own record in PKR to substantiate his loyalty.
Underneath all these is a failed move in the past called the Kajang Move.
The manoeuvre sought to topple the 14th Menteri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, and install the national opposition leader Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim (who subsequently could not contest as he was convicted in Sodomy II) as his replacement. The move was initiated by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Strategy Director, then Vice President cum Secretary General, Rafizi Ramli. The attempt resulted in a nine-month political crisis within the state of Selangor and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, that also involved the palace of Selangor. The crisis concluded with the appointment of PKR’s Deputy President, Azmin Ali, as the 15th Menteri Besar of Selangor.
Azmin was never PKR’s choice, but was submitted to the sultan by PAS.
Back to the present, the question as to whether Azmin was actually contemplating challenging Anwar was never actually addressed.
A few days ago, Rafizi revealed that Azmin had asked Anwar to step aside, at a meeting in Turkey.
“If this story wasn’t true, I would not say it live like this,” he was quoted as saying by a news portal during a ceramah at the “Reformasi 20 Tahun” programme in Kota Baru on Friday night.
Of course Azmin rubbished it.
Yesterday, in response to a complaint by PKR vice-president, Tian Chua, that Rafizi is making public decisions that are yet to be discussed and ratified by the main PKR leadership, Rafizi said the plan to enable the PKR president-elect to return to Parliament was discussed by Anwar himself and several other party leaders.
”I understand Tian Chua may have felt awkward for not being involved in the process. Usually, only a few of us are involved. That includes me, Anwar and several others,” Rafizi said here on Sunday night (Sept 9).
Rafizi, however, said he would not have announced something that significant involving Anwar without getting his approval.
”There are a few important decisions that are not discussed with everyone, only with a few of us … Anwar discussed it with people that have to do with it,” he said. Rafizi also said the plan to vacate the seat had been in place since the general election and was identified early on. He said that the move was timely as the benefits outweigh the risks and all would be revealed this week.
Let me get to the points I wish to make.
- Rafizi now claims (though not in so many words) to be Anwar’s proxy. In other words, he speaks for Anwar.
- If indeed he speaks for Anwar, then not only did the story of Azmin asking Anwar to step aside originate from Anwar (note I don’t say it is true because I do not know), but also Anwar regards Azmin as a rival and wishes to expose Azmin as such, and remove him.
- (assuming again that Rafizi is accurate), Anwar is sidelining the PKR leadership.
This is no longer a contest for the deputy presidency of PKR.
There are only 2 responses that would make sense.
Firstly it is true. And it is Anwar’s decision to expose Azmin. Then Anwar does nothing.
Secondly, Anwar states in no uncertain terms that Rafizi does not speak for him.
Finally, assuming the first response, that it is true, and Anwar lets Rafizi’s claims stand, my respect for Anwar, and my trust in his integrity, takes a serious hit. And the fact that I would even write such an article shows how much damage Rafizi has caused.
It could very well be true, that Azmin has ambitions. But is it true that he is impatient? Is he such a political novice that he thinks he can just ask Anwar to step aside? Do his calculations really show that he can win the public, as well as PH component parties, over to his side after stabbing Anwar in the back?
I don’t know Azmin at all. But I’m pretty sure he is not stupid.
I titled this article with the full name of PKR just to remind us of what PKR is about. Not Anwar, but Justice.
Many, many years ago, the man in power felt that his second-in-command was impatient and engineered his ouster. And the People’s Justice Party was born. Perhaps events might take a full circle, and after being ousted, Azmin joins PPBM to lead the party when Mahathir vacates his position.