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PKR's self-consuming war

  • Neither side will benefit from such division, but to the party's image and future, lethal damage is already done. Photo courtesy: Bernama

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

Overnight, PKR's loincloth was removed, laying itself bare to the public.

Anwar said if Azmin was involved in the sex video scandal, he had to resign.

And Azmin said Anwar should first look in the mirror.

Azmin has 27 senior leaders by his side, including 14 MP's and 22 supreme council members (some with overlapping duties) who issued an open letter to blast their party president.

Anwar fought back, arguing that he had enough MP's to support him as the country's next prime minister, and even had two Sarawak PKR reps having signed the joint statement accompanying him at the press conference.

Up till this point, there should be no more need for any cover-up in PKR's infighting. People standing on opposite sides of the fire line have had themselves publicly identified, and an intense war is about to break out anytime.

Chances of a reconciliation, already quite slim, are near zero now.

The duel has now moved into public realm. Anwar's political secretary Farhash Wafa was picked up by the police.

Farhash is among Anwar's closest aides. Even though he lacks an impressive CV in the party, he has moved up the hierarchy pretty fast, being the political secretary handling the most confidential documents, and the appointed Perak state chairman.

To those in PKR, Farhash is an ambitious but at times rash guy who has nevertheless won Anwar's complete trust.

With his detention in relation to the sex video scandal, a dark cloud is now hovering above Anwar Ibrahim.

From Anwar's point of view, the police investigation has been targeting specifically the people creating and spreading the video, not so much the identity of the people in video.

Legally speaking, while it is a crime creating and spreading a sex video, involvement in “unnatural” sex is itself against the country's law, too.

The IGP said the video was real, but the police could not establish the identity of the men in video.

So, all the effort to get Azmin legally liable has now gone in vain.

Politically, Tun Mahathir has reiterated that this whole thing has been a political ploy meant to bring down Azmin, in an apparent move to back the PKR deputy chief.

Mahathir declared that Azmin could decide for himself whether to take leave over the incident, and this helped allay the pressure from Anwar demanding him to take leave if found guilty.

Farhash's arrest, coupled with police investigation direction and Mahathir's statement have all conspired together to intensify Anwar's uneasiness, prompting him to make the “Azmin must quit if involved” remark.

But to Azmin's camp, Anwar's remark sounds as if he is not protecting his own comrade and has not been acting impartially in his capacity as party president.

In addition to verbal counter-attacks, Azmin has openly displayed his team power through an open letter.

Azmin is obviously showing his card right now, but such a move may not necessarily help him.

His team line-up takes up approximately half of the whole supreme council, but this is by no means overwhelming.

Anwar's people are still commanding the most crucial positions in the party, and are in control of the leadership of most states.

And among the MP's, Azmin's camp claims to have 14, but the position of two from Sarawak have now become dubious. This puts the number pretty close to the ten earlier estimated.

To take over the premiership, Anwar requires the support of at least half of all the MP's. Defiance from his own party could be a hidden concern, but Anwar still has the support of more than two-thirds of all PKR MP's, well above what Azmin can muster.

Among the PKR MP's backing Azmin, there are more non-Malays than Malays, and this has somewhat restricted his choice. If he were to join PPBM, these supporters may not follow him, unless he starts a new party, but again he still needs to work hard to get more Malay reps on his side.

Azmin's people do not make up the majority in PKR, but with Mahathir's strong backing, Anwar may find himself helpless.

In short, the open crack between Anwar and Azmin is akin to the removal of the party's last remaining loincloth. Neither side will benefit from such division, but to the party's image and future, lethal damage is already done.

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