Pick another president if you dare – Anwar

(Malaysiakini) – As infighting within PKR continues to rage, party president Anwar Ibrahim makes it clear that he will not call for meetings with different factions.

However, the Port Dickson MP said others would not be prevented from holding their respective meetings, but he would not endorse them.

“I will not hold meetings with different factions. I will hold a party meeting… If you want me to meet and legitimise certain groups, that is not the work of the president.

“You have to wait to elect a new president if you dare,” he said in his speech at the party’s Perlis and Kedah divisions’ joint convention in Kulim this afternoon.

Anwar also used the term “cartel” when he spoke about the meetings.

Those aligned to the president use this term to refer to PKR deputy president Azmin Ali’s faction. However, it is believed this is the first time Anwar used this description in public.

The factions, which have been embroiled in a protracted feud, are now locking horns over the cancellation of Azmin’s invitation to officiate PKR Youth wing’s national congress next month.

The deputy president claimed the rescinding of the invitation is an attempt to silence him.

Meanwhile, Anwar addressed complaints from those aligned to Azmin that he refused to meet with them.

“In parliament, I often drop by the canteen… then I go to my office upstairs, where those with appointments meet me.

“Anyone can meet me. On other days, I am at my office in Jalan Gasing (Petaling Jaya). So it is not true to say (they) cannot meet me. What more if you are a minister or deputy minister.

“But if party meetings have been fixed, political bureau meetings, central leadership council (MPP) meetings or special meetings, then there is no such thing as (secretary-general) Saifuddin’s (Nastution Ismail) faction or cartel faction. I will not endorse this,” he added.

‘Positions should not make us slaves or lackeys’

Anwar also warned about the trappings of power, positions and wealth, noting how these can adversely impact idealism.

Therefore, he stressed it is important to recall the past about PKR’s origins.

“Positions are not for us to become slaves and lackeys to the point of losing our sense and forgetting the party and principles of our struggle.

“Our (political) ascension is because of the party. How can we forget the party and principles after obtaining positions and power?” he said.

Emphasising the need for PKR to be strong, Anwar told his audience that people would evaluate the party based on the internal manoeuvrings which are presently occurring.

“I, as the president, need a strong party. Therefore, discipline is crucial,” he added.

The PKR president said history must be revisited because power and wealth are bewitching.

“Because of this, we must look at the past, polish (our) idealism and look forward. Let me start with Prophet Muhammad. What is the best example of the prophet? Conduct and ethics.

“Power and wealth must not bewitch our leaders. (They) must lead moderate lives because we have a responsibility towards the people. We must be stern in this.

“What is our (PKR’s) difference? Our people are the most anti-corruption, anti-extravagance and anti-bribes. But when we rule, (our) idealism begins to wane,” he said.

‘One moment talking to Umno, the next, talking to PAS’

Anwar conceded that Pakatan Harapan has been unable to deliver on all of the promises in its election manifesto but stressed on the importance of commitment to achieve certain goals.

“Don’t forget, PTPTN (National Higher Education Fund Corporation loans) and unemployment require serious focus and clear commitment to rectify the situation,” he added.

On the nation’s economic situation, Anwar said in terms of wealth, Vietnam has surpassed Malaysia while Indonesia is closing the gap.

“This is why we need to be focussed, not hold discussions here and there. Holding talks with Umno one moment and the next moment, holding talks with PAS. What is this?” he chided.

Turning his focus towards alleviating poverty in Malaysia, Anwar said the issue cannot be looked at through racial lens although Malays are the most affected.

“Our party does not talk about poverty according to race. If you wish to remain in PKR, you cannot deviate from this. We champion all (races),” he stressed.

“Many of the poor are Malays. There are also many Indians who are poor. This is the problem which we must handle. The issue of employment affects all. This is the reality before us,” he said.

In his closing remarks, Anwar recalled how numerous quarters felt that forming a multiracial party was not feasible because the Malays would not accept it.

However, the PKR president said this has been proven wrong.