Azmin says PKR-DAP spat won’t break relationship

By Lee Wei Lian (The Malaysian Insider)

Concerned over the escalation in the public spat between DAP and PKR,  PKR vice president Azmin Ali has tried to sooth frayed nerves, saying that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties need to work closer together and have more meetings at the state and national level to discuss issues.

The row surfaced when Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng made known his displeasure to the media at not being informed about former Penang Deputy Chief Minister 1 (DCM1) Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin’s resignation from his Penanti state seat last Thursday until after the news had broken.

He felt that as the chief minister, he should have been kept in the loop.

PKR leaders such as deputy president Syed Husin Ali and Penang PKR chief Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim lashed out yesterday at Lim’s statement, saying he should not have voiced his dissatisfaction in the media and claimed that PKR had never interfered with DAP’s choices for political appointees.

Only about a year old, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition is yet untested by time though it has proven it can work well together to win recent by-elections. This makes the spat over Fairus one that critics of the coalition will be watching to see if it is a sign of a crack in the partnership between DAP and PKR.

Azmin says that the war of words is not something that will break the relationship between the two parties but nevertheless, he said more frequent meetings between PR leaders were in order to prevent future incidences.

“All parties need to work even closer, to discuss and iron out problems within Pakatan Rakyat and we can do so by having regular meetings at the state and national level,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“Then they can discuss all issues, not only party matters but also government policies.”

He added that not one party in the PR alliance could claim that they could stand on their own and all parties needed to make an effort to tighten the relationship.

The next meeting between top PR leaders is scheduled for this Saturday.

According to PKR Deputy President Dr Syed Husin, de facto PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had also spoken to Lim yesterday and resolved the matter.

“Anwar and Guan Eng spoke to each other and I believe all confusion about the matter has been solved,” said Syed Husin in a statement.

While sources in PR agree with Azmin that the “political posturing” in the media is not a deal breaker, the row has exposed areas of tension within the fledging coalition.

Lim is known to be unhappy over allegations from critics that he is a mere puppet with “position but no power” to appoint a DCM 1 though he has repeatedly said that he had left the decision to de facto PKR leader Anwar out of camraderie and respect. The post of DCM1 has been reserved for a Malay leader from PKR.

The Malaysian Insider has also learnt however, that PKR resents earlier lobbying from Lim to nominate state executive councillor Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim, an Indian Muslim, as DCM1, as it feels it cannot afford to ignore political considerations to nominate a strong ethnic Malay candidate instead.