PKR’s ‘real face’ emerging

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid, Free Malaysia Today

NEWS ANALYSIS: The worst of PKR is surfacing. At least that’s what observers are saying about the ongoing mudslinging between supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim and vice-president Azmin Ali. While it is tipped that four contestants will join the race for PKR’s deputy presidency come party polls in November, Zaid and Azmin are regarded as the top contenders.

Both factions have accused each other of sly tactics as campaigning intensifies and observers believe that the newly introduced direct elections will bring to surface the “real face” of PKR.

Fomer Umno man Zaid has been the subject of intense personal attacks, and he has blamed Azmin’s camp for this. But the latter’s supporters have denied the charge.

Since he only joined PKR in 2009, Zaid’s decision to vie for the No 2 post has attracted a barrage of online flak, mostly personal attacks.

Zaid himself lamented on his blog about certain forces attemtpting to undermine him and that a blogger was allegedly paid to run him down.

It is understood that the opposition to Zaid’s candidacy was due to his bluntness and that his reform ideals were against the established order in PKR and its new obsession of strengthening its Malay spine to capture Putrajaya.

PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim made it clear that the battle for federal power lies in the war to win the hearts and minds of the Malay electorate and the recent revamping of the party structure reflected this.

Sources said the appointment of several loyalists to key party posts was definitely a calculated move and the PKR supremo is adamant about maintaining this framework.

The appointment of Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, an Azmin loyalist, as the new communications director is one such example.

This was also reflected in Anwar’s tacit endorsement of Youth chief aspirant Rafizi Ramli and his line-up, 80% of whom consist of Anwar and Azmin supporters.
“A good evidence of this is how Nik Nazmi is using his new position to campaign for these candidates,” alleged a Zaid supporter.

As such, all leaders and members are expected to endorse the so-called Anwar-Azmin pact, both of whom share a common tactical understanding that PKR must do all it can to penetrate the Malay electorate if it wants to oust Barisan Nasional in the next general election.

Azmin is known to be one of the rare PKR leaders with strong grassroots backing especially from Malay supporters.

Zaid a threat to the pact

Zaid’s presence, said party sources, is a direct threat to this pact. When the former law minister urged party members to vote him for “real change”, little did he realise that he was stirring a hornet’s nest.