Rafizi’s political future in limbo as subsidies abolition plan gets underway

The ambitious PKR deputy president has plans to take over the party, but what are his odds?

(MalaysiaNow) – Rafizi Ramli’s political future has become the subject of intense discussions both within PKR and among political observers, less than two months after heavy criticism over the Central Database Hub (PADU).

The issue is not only whether the PADU mechanism, which sparked controversy over its method of collecting personal data, is capable of supporting the targeted subsidy system about which few details have been forthcoming, but also the fact that senior government officials – including Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim – did not openly come to Rafizi’s defence when he was attacked by Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders, among others.

The government’s subsidy rationalisation plan, which calls for the scrapping of bulk fuel subsidies and their redirection to the poor based on PADU data, is set to begin with the removal of diesel subsidies.

Anwar’s announcement last week raised concerns over price hikes, leading to questions over whether Rafizi would again be left alone to defend the targeted subsidy plan largely attributed to him.

Any public anger over the targeted subsidy plan would see Rafizi, not Anwar, paying a heavy price, according to several former PKR leaders who note that Rafizi is seen as Anwar’s closest challenger for the top party post.

Rafizi, who lost to Mohamed Azmin Ali in the race for the deputy president’s post during the 2018 party election, finally landed it after defeating Saifuddin Nasution in 2022.

But observers say this is the highest position he can reach in PKR.

A former senior PKR leader said that based on his experience in the party, there was no way the top position could go to anyone other than members of Anwar’s family.

Read more here