Infighting poses threat to PKR

The pro-Azmin Ali camp in PKR is keeping a watchful eye on the growing support for the ‘pro-Wan Azizah’ faction which wants a bigger role for Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah. 

B Nantha Kumar, Free Malaysia Today  

With general election looming, PKR is grappling with factionalism within the party which is slowly filtering down to its divisions.

A source in the party’s headquarters here said there are now four groups within the party, each trying to “take control” of the party for their personal agenda.

The most dominant “teams” are the Anwaristas, who are hardcore supporters of the party’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, and the pro-Azmin Ali group.

The other two less threatening camps are the “pro-Wan Azizah” and “pro-Parti Rakyat Malaysia” factions. The pro-PRM faction is said to be led by former PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali.

According to the source, the “pro-Anwar” group was mainly former members of Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (Abim) and Anwar’s close friends and was “hardly a threat” to Azmin’s faction, which is the “largest” camp.

“The pro-Azmin camp is the largest group in the party now and is controlled by Azmi [PKR deputy president]. Most of the supporters are MPs, state assemblymen, councillors and holders of positions in the party.

“This group is influential but the members are wary of the pro-Wan Azizah’s camp, which fully supports vice-president Nurul Izzah (Anwar),” said the source.

He said all these factions had their own list of candidates and will be fighting for seats in the upcoming general election.

“The internal fighting is worse now after the 2008 political tsunami. Now everyone wants to be a candidate in the next election.

“Because of this, Anwar is forced to set up an internal team to prepare a separate list of candidates. Anwar has already identified several parliamentary seats for the 13th general election.

“None of these candidates are from the Azmin camp. We will surely see issues cropping up later,” he said.

Trouble in Pasir Salak

It appears that the Anwar-Azmin rivalry is filtering down.

A group of party members from Pasir Salak division are against Mustaffa Kamil Ayub, who is rumoured to be Anwar’s candidate.

Mustaffa is a PKR former vice-president who, according to an insider in the division, has “lost all the seats he has ever contested”.

“He lost in the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary seat in 1999, and lost again in the Lumut parliamentary seat in 2004 before he was defeated in Sungai Manik state assembly seat in 2008.

“We are shocked to hear a top party leader claiming that Anwar has chosen Mustaffa for the Pasir Salak constituency, which is an Umno stronghold,” the insiders said, adding that the only reason Mustaffa was selected was because he was close to Anwar.

He described Mustaffa as an “opportunist” who was “kicked out’ of the party election in 2010.

“Despite his defeat in divisional elections, he was offered to be coordinator for Pasir Salak constituency. But he rejected the offer,” the insider said.

When Mustaffa rejected the offer, the Baju Gajah division chairman Abdul Razak Ismail was asked to take over and he accepted, and now word is that Anwar has agreed to let him contest for the Pasir Salak seat.