“Not many are aware that Azmin deliberately took “one step back to advance three steps forward”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali has offered two hints that Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim needs to step down as PKR president and pave the way for a leadership transition within the party.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Ames Hotel, Melaka, Azmin chided Anwar over his obsession with premiership instead of helping the ruling Pakatan Harapan rebuild the country.
“You don’t have to talk about it (power transition) every day, every week and every month.
“When the people voted us in, they wanted us to reform and deliver and that should be the focus of the new government,” he said.
That was the first hint.
The second was when Azmin stressed that he had no intention whatsoever of leaving PKR, insisting that the problems between him and Anwar “can be sorted out.”
“I am still optimistic, because we have faced so many crises in the past and thank God we managed to resolve them.
“I believe we can resolve this crisis too, provided that all leaders are honest and adhere to what has been discussed and promised.
“This is a party that we have built for 20 years. We will stay and there is no way I will quit the party,” he said.
That’s all political talk.
In the first place, claims that the two can sort things out contradicts a previous claim by Azmin himself that he was betrayed by Anwar despite having given the latter a chance.
In the second place, if indeed Azmin thinks he is better able to run PKR than Anwar, he has to speak in terms of unity rather than division and portray a sense of optimism in realising the party’s reformist agenda.
Reformation, in its core essence, has to do with the will to embrace change by sorting out differences and facing new realities.
By staying true to the agenda, Azmin can and will succeed in seizing control of PKR without having to do a damned thing as he has proven time and again to be a loyalist and someone Anwar’s people can always rely on.
Back in 1998, when Anwar was sacked from government on charges of sodomy, it was Azmin who came to his defence and stood by him all the way through a court verdict validating the crime.
In 2008, when the PKR president was slapped with the same charge, Azmin maintained the latter’s innocence even after the courts found him guilty.
In both cases, it was Azmin who looked after Anwar’s men and funded most of their activities, a deed not even the founder of PKR, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was capable of performing.
As a matter of fact, had it not been for Azmin, PKR would have been reduced to shambles, as not only did Wan Azizah abandon Anwar’s men, she was not able to manage many of the party’s strategic assets and was forced to seek Azmin’s help.
So you see, it was Azmin to the rescue all the way.Yet, when Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz released two sex clips featuring him and a man he insisted was Azmin, Anwar had the cheek to insinuate that it was time Azmin took a hike.
But the numbers are on Azmin’s side.
Many branch and division leaders as well as PKR Members of Parliament (MPs) were pissed as hell that Anwar failed to defend Azmin, the very Azmin who stood by him all the way throughout his decades long sodomy tribulations.
The betrayal cost Anwar dearly when many of his loyalists began hopping over to Azmin’s side of the isle.
This was made manifest when Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian managed to lead a majority laced entourage to Putrajaya to protest the way Anwar had treated Azmin in recent times.
But the most glaring indictor was probably the overwhelming support Azmin received during Friday’s youth and wanita congress which Anwar tried very hard to prevent the former from officiating.
Another indicator was Azmin’s ability to lead more than two thirds of PKR’s central command and hundreds of delegates out of a conference hall where the party’s national congress was then ongoing.
The walkout, in retaliation to Anwar’s address, was indicator enough that Anwar’s days as PKR president were coming to an end.
Everyone from central command involved with the protest agreed that Anwar had betrayed a ceasefire agreement which he had entered with Azmin.
Late Wednesday evening, Anwar got his men to contact Azmin and sought for a four-eyed meeting. The PKR president was on the verge of a breakdown following renewed allegations of sexual misconduct a young lad had hurled against him.
It was during this meeting that Anwar agreed to all of Azmin’s terms, including the right for the latter to officiate the youth and wanita congress and the need to review the sacking of Zakaria Abdul Hamid, Baru Bian’s former political secretary.
Anwar upheld his end of the bargain, though not in its entirety.
While he did allow Azmin to officiate the youth and Wanita congress, a well-placed source insists that he also ordered his men to prevent a number of Azmin’s people from attending the youth congress for no apparent rhyme or reason.
One of those affected was Mizan Adli Md Noor, who, only days earlier, was sacked from his position as youth chairman on grounds that made no sense whatsoever.
Anwar had promised Azmin to review the sacking.
However, the treatment Mizan received at the youth congress touched off a notorious and riotous assault outside the conference hall and ended with injuries and bloodshed.
Seemingly perturbed, Anwar sought for an investigation into the riot and made it appear as if he was concerned about the treatment Azmin’s men had received.
Later, however, he reneged on the ceasefire agreement he had entered with Azmin by criticising the latter in a roundabout manner.
“He starts mentioning about Si Kitol and Raja Mandeliar, and this has opened the path for the debaters to attack (me) personally and break the unity of the leadership and members of Keadilan (PKR).
“The debaters for policy speech was also one sided and left out the grassroots voices… The speeches only brought up one man’s dream and brings down other leaders,” Azmin explained.
Anwar’s betrayal came barely a day after Azmin had openly defended him against allegations of sexual misconduct.
On Wednesday, hours before Azmin met Anwar, Muhammed Yusoff Rawther flashed a statutory declaration during a press conference in which he accused Anwar of assaulting him physically and sexually.
The SD, dated the 19th of November 2019, also stated that Anwar had attempted to force himself upon Yusoff with the intent of sodomising the latter.
Azmin could easily have used the SD to take revenge on Anwar by insinuating – like Anwar did – that the latter needed to step down on account of the new allegation.
Instead, he chose to put Yusoff’s claim down to “gutter politicking” and went so far as to vouch for Anwar’s morals.
That immediately put a dose of glamour into Azmin’s already ‘glamourous’ profile – to the seasoned politician, it showed that Azmin was mature enough to “take one step back to advance three steps forward.”
That is to say, Azmin was intelligent enough to know that if he did the exact opposite of what Anwar did, it would help distinguish him from Anwar in terms of leadership quality and skills.
Quite frankly, that is all Azmin needed to gain majority support, which explains why he currently has 33 PKR MPs and the majority of state and national level leaders on his side.
To them, he is one to sacrifice his own goals for the sake of unity and the party, unlike Anwar, who is all about wrecking havoc on PKR just to ‘kill’ off anyone he thinks can come between him and his premiership ambitions.
All Azmin needs to do now is to continue playing “good cop” by insisting that the problems between him and Anwar “can be sorted out” and that he will stay put in the party.
Given that Anwar cannot sack a deputy president who clearly wants to ‘reconcile’, would that not mean Anwar himself needs to step down as PKR president now that it’s clear he has no intention whatsoever of reconciling with his deputy?