If Azmin is challenged, that’s democracy, says PKR veep

Tian Chua also says there is nothing unusual in Azmin’s appointment to a federal post.

(FMT) – Two PKR leaders have welcomed contests at its congress next month, not only for the president’s post but also for the number two post currently occupied by Mohamed Azmin Ali.

This comes after an analyst predicted that Azmin, who made his debut at the federal level following his appointment to the powerful portfolio of economic affairs under the Prime Minister’s Department, could face a challenge in his party.

But vice-president Tian Chua said even if this happened, it should be seen positively.

“There will always be contests in PKR elections,” the former Batu MP told FMT.

“It has nothing to do with Azmin having a post in Cabinet,” he said.

Political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said that Azmin’s quick climb in the government could be seen as a threat to more senior leaders, including de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Azmin, 53, was named by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as minister of economics affairs.

While some see this as a sign that the former Selangor menteri besar was being groomed to lead the government post-Mahathir, Tian Chua said it was nothing out of the ordinary.

“Azmin is deputy president, so it’s natural he gets a senior Cabinet post. Nothing unusual,” he said.

He said if Azmin was challenged in party polls, it was a sign that PKR was practising democracy.

Kamarul had said that Azmin could face a challenge from a proxy of Anwar, as part of an attempt to keep him in check.

“It is most likely a senior leader who is very loyal to Anwar,” the former Universiti Utara Malaysia lecturer told FMT.

Haniza Mohamed Talha.

Selangor PKR women’s chief Haniza Mohamed Talha said there was nothing wrong in taking on Azmin, but dismissed suggestions that it was to stop Azmin’s rise.

“Azmin is the most senior leader after Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail,” she said, referring to the current party president.

“It is only fair that the prime minister bring him into the Cabinet,” she said.

Haniza said there was nothing to indicate that Azmin, who has held the deputy president’s post for nine years, would be challenged this time around.