PKR struggles to present united front as by-election looms


Anwar’s appearance with Khalid and Azmin appears to be part of a subtle campaign to reassure voters that all is well within the party, and to dispel rumours that Anwar is planning to oust the Mentri Besar.

(MM) – PKR is redoubling its efforts to convince voters in Kajang that there is no bad blood among its leaders amid growing public anger over the party’s move to trigger a by-election in the area.

Top of the party’s agenda right now is to present a united front among its three leaders- Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and party deputy president Azmin Ali.

Yesterday, the three PKR men were seen together at the Kariah mosque here, despite talk of souring ties between Khalid and Anwar.

Khalid’s on-going feud with Azmin, however, is no secret.

Anwar’s appearance with Khalid and Azmin appears to be part of a subtle campaign to reassure voters that all is well within the party, and to dispel rumours that Anwar is planning to oust the Mentri Besar.

“The message that we have to get across is that we have to move forward,” Azmin told The Malay Mail Online shortly after an event at the mosque.

“I have no problems with Khalid. And I think that is what we need to get across, that at the end of the day, we need to be focused for the Kajang by-election,” the Bukit Antarabangsa state assemblyman said.

The three were in fine form yesterday, obliging with ready smiles. And crucially, they were seen and photographed while in easy conversation with each other.

But Khalid’s future in Selangor is still uncertain while Anwar’s path towards the Mentri Besar post isn’t simple, a source from the Selangor government told The Malay Mail Online.

“There are several scenarios at play here. Anwar can take over and Khalid can still play a part in the Selangor government. Some people say Khalid should remain MB and Anwar below him.

“But this is up to the Selangor palace. Will the palace consent to Anwar taking over as MB?” the source said.

It is also been suggested that Khalid may not let go of the coveted MB position so easily.

“Will Khalid simply give his post to Anwar without a fight? That remains to be seen…he has shown signs he won’t” a PKR leader told The Malay Mail Online.

But PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said he believes that everyone within PKR and Pakatan Rakyat are focused on winning the Kajang by-election.

“All Pakatan leaders are committed in assisting PKR in winning the Kajang by-election.

“Regardless of speculation, everyone is now committed to ensure we have a good campaign machinery,” Fahmi told The Malay Mail Online in a telephone interview.

Azmin said yesterday PR would only decide on who should be Selangor MB after the Kajang by-election.

Anwar is said to have made up his mind to replace Khalid to ensure that the state is governed according to Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) manifesto and to end infighting between the MB and Azmin.

Azmin has been at loggerheads with Khalid over his recent removal from the board of the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS). But Khalid has insisted that he was not responsible for the removal.

But even as Anwar prepares to make a public announcement on his reasons for contesting in the Kajang by-election, his party is finding it tough to convince its coalition partners about the possibility of Anwar replacing Khalid.

While the DAP has publicly stated their support for the Opposition leader, PAS has been extra cautious.

The PAS national leadership has also indicated that it may not necessarily support Anwar should he make a move for the MB’s post, and that the three parties have so far only agreed on Anwar’s candidacy for the Kajang by-election.

Selangor PAS has also openly expressed unhappiness over Anwar’s rumoured plan to take over the Selangor mentri besar’s post.

Mohd Khairuddin has reiterated that the party will nominate state party commissioner Iskandar should Khalid step down since PAS has more seats in the state assembly than PKR.

PR currently coalition holds 44 of the 56 seats in the Selangor state assembly. PAS and DAP both have 15 seats each, while PKR has 13 after Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh’s sudden resignation earlier this week.