MELAKA – Just a day after a peace deal between two warring factions in Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), a video was played at its national congress Thursday (Dec 6) night, crediting deputy president Azmin Ali for the ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan’s win at Malaysia’s general election last year.
The video also hailed him as the peacemaker and broker of PKR’s newfound relationship with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
The clip, played to some 1,000 delegates at the Melaka International Trade Centre just before Datuk Seri Azmin’s speech, urged members to stop “sabotaging” Mr Azmin, and said that the ruling coalition must stay united.
Delegates stood up and gave resounding cheers for the Economic Affairs Minister as he began his speech.
“Keadilan must remain Pakatan Harapan’s Rock of Gibraltar for stability and durability,” he said in his speech officiating the women’s and youth congress, ignoring the elephant in the room, his feud with party president Anwar Ibrahim.
He called on party delegates to unite, and support Tun Dr Mahathir but there was no mention of Mr Anwar in his speech.
Mr Anwar is meant to succeed Dr Mahathir as premier under an agreement between member parties of PH, but there is no specific date for the handover.
“Working hand in hand with all our partners in this formidable coalition, we will continue to strive for progress and reform for the nation,” Mr Azmin said.
He acknowledged that as a party there would be challenges and differences of opinion, but that these can be resolved with unity and mutual respect.
“We will emerge stronger than ever!” he said adding that the party will face 7.8 million new voters in the next general elections, due by 2023.
Later he told a press conference that his relationship with Mr Anwar is “always good.”
Kuala Lumpur PKR young women’s chief Akhmar Sari Mohd Nazri, who was at the congress, said that the tussle between rival factions led by Mr Anwar and Mr Azmin had split the party but maintained that the majority of party members supported Mr Anwar.
“The next PM will be Anwar,” she told The Straits Times.
The power struggle between Mr Azmin, who is said to be a strong contender for the post of premier, and Mr Anwar, came to a head this week with the minister’s camp planning a “parallel congress” in Kuala Lumpur, and allegations of sexual harassment surfacing against Mr Anwar.
The alternate party meeting was planned after Mr Azmin was unceremoniously dropped from opening the youth congress.
Cordial relations seems to have been restored after Mr Azmin and Mr Anwar met on Wednesday and agreed that Mr Azmin would launch the youth congress as per party tradition and that any parallel event would be cancelled.
Nevertheless, Mr Anwar still issued a warning on Thursday that any delegates who attend an alternate congress in Kuala Lumpur would risk being sacked from the party.
The four day party congress continues until Sunday.