Rafizi claims Azmin asked Anwar to step aside so he can lead PKR

(FMT) – Azmin Ali travelled to Turkey to ask Anwar Ibrahim not to contest the PKR presidency and to allow him to lead the party, Rafizi Ramli claimed today.

Rafizi, who is trying to unseat Azmin as PKR deputy president, made the revelation as the contest between them heats up.

He was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying this at a ceramah at the Reformasi 20 Tahun programme in Kota Bharu on Sept 7.

Rafizi was quoted as saying: “I can say here that he (Azmin) went to Turkey to meet with Anwar himself. Anwar was about to go for surgery, and he (Azmin) went to meet him to say ‘You don’t have to contest, let me become the party president.’ “If this story wasn’t true, I would not say it live like this.”

Azmin’s political secretary Hilman Idham, when contacted by Malaysiakini, denied the claim. He described what Rafizi said as “impossible”.

Meanwhile, party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution has thrown his backing for Rafizi.

He told the New Straits Times that both Azmin and Rafizi have their respective track records and were very important figures in the party.

“In this contest, Rafizi is offering his ideas for the party, while Azmin is offering his track record as the Selangor menteri besar. Rafizi doles out fresh ideas that clearly led to PH’s victory. I like to be clear in this; I have long been friends with Azmin, and I have long known Rafizi as well.

“I see that the party needs talent, fresh ideas, creativity and unflinching commitment. I am hoping for Rafizi to win the contest.”

Saifuddin elaborated that Rafizi came up with unconventional ideas to boost the party’s chances in the recent general election.

“For example, in 2008 and 2013, the then opposition pact would always be defeated in 20 to 25 parliamentary seats. Rafizi asked me why don’t we focus on 30 to 40 marginal seats with the use of big data. So the party gave Rafizi space to explore the matter because he said if the methodology is confined to party schemes, his ideas will stumble given bureaucracies within the party organisation.

“I brought him to meet Anwar in jail at that time. Rafizi presented his ideas and Anwar found them to be reasonable. Rafizi executed his ideas and invested his own money, RM700,000, for it to work. He gathered young professionals.

“Alhamdulillah, though we did not win all (marginal seats), but we got through most of them. It is proven that Rafizi was spot on with regards to the use of big data. In this context, in all of the 20 years I have worked for the party, Rafizi’s ideas led to our victory.”