Malaysia Dateline


Azmin in a bind as twin by-elections loom

Will PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali end up being the biggest loser in the run-up to the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections?

After he was attacked by DAP and Pakatan Harapan supporters over the clash of opposition candidates in the recent Sarawak elections, the Selangor menteri besar now seems to collide with Amanah and Pas for wanting PKR to contest in Sungai Besar.

Amanah leaders consider the parliamentary constituency as belonging to the party because it has replaced PAS in Pakatan Harapan following the collapse of Pakatan Rakyat.

PAS, on the other hand, has been attacking Azmin following his reported ultimatum to three PAS excos in Selangor to vacate their posts if the party is adamant on contesting in Sungai Besar.

An emergency meeting was then held between the PAS excos and their president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in Marang, Terengganu.

Hadi came out defiant, saying PAS would contest both in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, at the same time refusing to withdraw its representatives in the Selangor government.

Azmin has denied giving the ultimatum, saying discussions are ongoing with PAS.

At least three senior PAS leaders have attacked Azmin in their statements: Youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Aziz, the Ulama wing’s information chief Datuk Khairudin Aman Razali and central committee member, Mokhtar Senik.

Nik Abduh questioned the seat negotiations with PKR, saying his party had decided to contest both seats.

“Respect us in the event we reject this ‘instant noodle’ negotiation which aims to force us to give up our rights on the basis of GE13,” wrote Abduh.

Abduh continued to attack Azmin after the latter suggested that Hadi had no clue about what is going on in his own party.

Hadi had earlier said there had been no negotiations with PAS leaders, but Azmin insisted he had met them twice to discuss about candidates in the two by-elections.

“Some politicians say, the party’s president doesn’t know what is happening inside his own party. I always hear the ignorant and ill-mannered saying that the ulama are not well-versed in his religion,” wrote Abduh on his Facebook.

Mokhtar, meanwhile, reminded that it was due to PAS’s support that Azmin was appointed the Selangor menteri besar.

“Did PKR and DAP nominate Azmin’s name to the Sultan for the Selangor MB’s post to replace TSKI (Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim)?” he asked sarcastically.

“Historians, please enlighten… I have forgotten.”

But even as Azmin worked hard to convince PAS not to join the contests, the party had been busy making preparations for the by-elections, including organising briefing sessions for its election machinery.

One such session was held yesterday for PAS workers in Selayang by Azizan Abdul Rahman, who heads the party’s campaign team in Sungai Besar.

Selangor PAS will also hold its gathering in Sungai Besar tomorrow, to be attended by all state leaders and members, believed to be an exercise to explain the party’s stand in the wake of Azmin’s ultimatum.