PKR should expel Azmin Ali - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, November 25, 2019
Malaysiakini : “There is always the threat of tomorrow's treachery, or next
year's treachery, or the treachery implicit in all the tomorrows beyond
that.” - Tim O'Brien, "In the Lake of the Woods"
COMMENT | The issue with Azmin Ali (above)
is not his ambition or his alleged sex scandal, but that he continues
to rely on support outside Harapan to destabilise PKR’s leadership. It
has got so toxic that it would wrong to call Azmin Ali's supporters
enablers when "handlers" would be a better term.
If Azmin was
demonstrating solidarity with his party when it came to issues affecting
his party, it would not make a difference if he had a sub rosa
agenda against Anwar Ibrahim. This is politics, after all. However,
Azmin’s continued reliance on outsiders to ferment trouble and
consolidate support is the existential threat facing PKR at this moment.
this was merely an internal squabble, although destabilising, it would
not be as toxic to Harapan as it is now. If Anwar, the party supremo,
cannot keep control of his party, then he deserves to lose power. But
Anwar is not only battling Azmin Ali, for he also has to contend with
Azmin’s allies from Bersatu and, of course, the riff-raff from Umno/PAS. The
fact that Anwar continues to genuflect before the prime minister,
someone who has shown tremendous public support for Azmin and contempt
for the Harapan reform agenda, is demonstrative of how weak the Harapan
political establishment is.
All the conflicting reports about what
went down at Azmin’s dinner party is just another in a long line of
reasons why PKR should kick out the economic affairs minister from the
party. At a time when Harapan is facing numerous self-inflicted
problems, the presence of Azmin is further fracturing the tenuous
Indeed, the fact that Azmin remains in PKR reminds us
that party discipline is non-existent in PKR. I am not talking about
dissenting views or opinions, but rather the perception – that Azmin
encourages – that Anwar is not the PM-designate of this country.
does he encourage this perception? He does so by carrying out acts that
undermine the legitimacy of the handover of power to Anwar (above).
He does so by thumbing his nose at the various party meetings and
personalities that would ensure a cohesive response to issues affecting
No doubt his role as economic affairs minister gives
him access and influence, which in turn cultivates relationships across
the political divide, which makes it harder for Anwar to engage in the
kind of politics that defines Mahathrism.
In July of this year, when Azmin agreed with Muhkriz Mahathir (below)
that there was no two-year time limit to the handover of power, this
was a direct attack against his comrades and the rakyat who voted for
them. What he is doing by agreeing with Mahathir’s son and proxy is
encouraging the narrative that whatever promises made by Harapan are
open to interpretation.
to mention that the old maverick has, on many occasions, couched his
support of Anwar taking over, with qualifiers that make it clear that he
and he alone can solve the problems this country is facing. Just
recently, Mahathir claimed that if people are not careful they could
vote in a Hitler. This is an extremely weird thing to say, especially
when Anwar is the person taking over.
Internal party politics
problems that Harapan faces are mostly created by the machinations of
the old maverick. These problems then become the problems of the
country because the real issues this county faces are subsumed beneath
the internal politics of Harapan and the machinations of the old
Meanwhile, Azmin, like Mahathir, gives “sarcastic”
answers to questions posed by the press. Read the transcript of an
exchange between a reporter and Azmin here. Even
the sex scandal surrounding Azmin is part of the problem. No doubt
there are elements within PKR who are out to get Azmin, but this is
politics and when you put a target on your back, what do you expect?
Even then, Azmin could not bring himself to identify his persecutors
because, to do so, would not be as damaging as allowing the rumour mill
to spin into overdrive.
His comments on the issue of internal
schisms within Harapan, which could cause voters' distrust, have now
morphed into the realisation that this is an inside job, after the media
made a big deal about Anwar’s missing political secretary.
does have his admirers in PKR. While most PKR political operatives want
to stay out of the fray between the Anwar camp and the Azmin camp, they
are growing tired of this nonsense. As one MP told me recently, she is
seriously considering throwing in the towel in the next election and
letting someone else take her place.
The MP also bemoaned the fact
that morale is low in PKR because of this fight between Anwar and
Azmin, with loyalists from each side resorting to “degenerate” methods
to ensure victory. However, for folks who have no dog in this fight,
what makes Azmin’s conduct reprehensible is that he has aligned himself
with Umno and Bersatu power brokers.
“Look Thaya, I do not want to
be associated with Umno, so these frogs coming into the party is one
thing, but Azmin being used by them is another. I barely want to
associate with Bersatu,” she said.
This is the point. Azmin’s
handlers want to encourage a sense of fatigue They want people to
distrust PKR. Let’s face facts, PKR has done a lot, which makes it a
target for people who believe that PKR is the weak link in the
Anwar demanded an explanation for the meeting and since
there has been no credible explanation, what we can assume is that PKR
and Anwar have no idea how to deal with the minister of economic
affairs because they fear the repercussions of expelling him from the
Azmin’s continued presence in PKR only reinforces the
narrative that Anwar will never be prime minister. The fact that Azmin
has not changed parties could be due to several reasons. However, I
think that the longer he remains in PKR, the more trouble he will cause.