Azmin moots ‘one force’ for PKR to anchor Pakatan


Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, Malay Mail Online 

PKR members should vote for a “tested” leader who will unite the party as “one force” and push for the rights of all races in Malaysia, Azmin Ali said ahead of party polls this month.

Azmin, who is defending his deputy presidency, unveiled his campaign manifesto — “Keadilan Raya” last night during a massive launch which was attended by roughly 500 party members and supporters.

The Selangor PKR chief took to the stage amid loud chants of “Reformasi!” and gave a passionate 45-minute speech, quoting no less than 37 world leaders who had fought for democracy such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and even left-wing Malay nationalist Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy.

“Why do we need a third force? What we need is just one force. Only one! That is the force of Keadilan,” he said to loud cheers from the adoring crowd.

Azmin reminded party members that PKR was Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) “vital centre”, and that it could not afford to be divided by intra-party factions.

To do this, members must vote a leader who is “stern, tested, able and loyal” and one who was in touch with the party’s grassroots movement, he stressed.

“For me, all the members are my team under the stewardship of Anwar Ibrahim,” Azmin added.

His speech touched on taking heed and inspiration from historical figures who had fought for democracy and equal rights, and pointed out that PKR’s deals were heavily rooted in the fight for “all Malaysians”, and that no one should forget that.

“As deputy president, I have gone to Ba’Kelalan in Sarawak, across the Crocker Range in Sabah. I have met the Iban in the longhouses in Saratok, the Kadazans in Beluran.

“I have entered estates and new villages to understand the feelings of the Malay, Indians and the Chinese. Keadilan is a party for all Malaysians,” Azmin said.

The veteran PKR politician’s remarks last night were a direct response towards what he coined as “cartels” forming just before the party election.

Azmin has previously stated that the formation of a pact by deputy presidential challenger Datuk Saifuddin Nasution with vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, Rafizi Ramli, Chua Tian Chang, Fuziah Salleh and Badrul Hisham Shaharin would portray the party as divided by factions.

Azmin was the sole politician who spoke during the launch, besides an opening speech by writer and academic Eddin Khoo, who appeared as a special guest.

Posters of historical figures such as Dr Sun Yat Sen, Burhanuddin and Gandhi adorned the walls of the event hall.

The race for the party’s No. 2 post, originally a crowded six-man tussle, is now a four-way match after both Chua Tian Chang and former Puchong branch chief S Murali withdrew last week.

The senior leaders now seeking to warm the deputy president’s chair include the incumbent Azmin, Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Saifuddin and Hulu Selangor branch member Datuk K. Ramachandram.

Polling will follow at each branch from April 25 to May 11. The full results will be announced on May 13.