After sprint to PM’s Dept, new hurdle for Azmin in PKR?

(FMT) – PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali’s quick climb in the government may not sit well with the party’s more senior leaders, including its de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, says an academic. 

Political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said Azmin, who was appointed to the powerful portfolio of economic affairs under the Prime Minister’s Department, could face a challenge to his party post at the coming PKR congress.

He said Anwar could be going for the president’s post in an attempt to consolidate his position in PKR, as he prepares to take over the government from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as promised to him before the general election last May.

The PKR president’s post is now occupied by Anwar’s wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Anwar, meanwhile, has been the de facto leader, a post which does not exist in the PKR constitution. 

Kamarul said although Azmin was well placed to pose a challenge to Anwar for the president’s post, the former Selangor menteri besar was aware of the repercussions.

“He will be seen as the bad guy if he does this. As it is, he is influential among the grassroots, so it’s better to bide his time than rock the boat,” Kamarul told FMT.

He said Azmin’s bigger problem now is to ensure he remains the party’s number two if challenged at the coming party polls.

“It’s not clear who will be the challenger, but it is most likely a senior leader who is very loyal to Anwar,” he said.

“It’s going to be a close fight, Azmin is a heading a very powerful and important ministry, some of those alligned to him like Zuraida Kamarudin and Amirudin Shari also hold important posts,” he said.

Zuraida is the housing and local government minister, while Amirudin is the Selangor menteri besar.

Kamarul said Azmin’s challenger would likely have the backing of Anwar.

But Kamarul said Azmin’s advantage is that the position he holds is seen as an endorsement from Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Furthermore, certain influential personalities within Mahathir’s circle are known to be not fond of Anwar, like Daim Zainuddin and Zahid Mat Arip,” said Kamarul.