Azmin, Zaid among frontrunners for PKR deputy presidency

(Malaysia Chronicle) – PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim’s announcement that he will contest in the upcoming party polls – the first direct election with voting being carried out over four weeks in October and November – has brought about intense speculation over who will vie for the coveted deputy post.

The post, currently held by Syed Husin Ali, is up for grabs should the incumbent announce his intention to step down in the coming weeks.

The veteran politician, who has held the post for two terms, is likely to quit following family pressure and health concerns.

While Zaid did not specify which post he is contesting, he is a prominent figure in the list of four said to have the deputy post in their sights.

The others include fellow supreme council member and vice-president Mustapha Kamil Ayub, Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim and vice-president Azmin Ali.

But according to a former political bureau member who request anonymity to adhere to party discipline, it is likely to be a straight fight between Zaid and Azmin.

Having come under so much criticism from PKR lately, Khalid’s political support is questionable.

He also admits to be less interested in politics, preferring instead to focus his attention on running the state.

Mustapha, one the other hand, is a “non-starter” who is believed to be “planted” in the ring to discourage others from contesting the same post, the source said.

According to the source, who holds a prominent party post, the vice-president is also too much of an “unknown figure” to have a chance in this battle of giants.

Wanita PKR chief Zuraida Kamaruddin agrees: “He (Mustapha) is an old face, but profile-wise, he will lose out to Azmin.”

This is despite that both men have been in the party for about the same period of time.

Zaid’s loyalty untested

Azmin’s lengthy experience in the party puts him head and shoulders over Zaid, whose loyalty some feel is still under question, she said.

“(Zaid) has yet to be tested. No doubt he has made his sacrifices in Umno. But after the defections, the grassroots are very cautious about loyalty.

“The members would want to ensure continuity, they would vote for someone who understands the party struggle,” she said.