Azmin met Anwar to ask latter not to contest PKR presidency, claims Rafizi

Nor Fazlina Abdul Rahim

KOTA BHARU: PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali had allegedly met Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Turkey to ask the party’s de facto leader not to contest the presidency so that the former could become president.

This was the claim made by PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli, who said the meeting took place when Anwar had just undergone surgery in Turkey recently.

“He (Azmin) went to Turkey to meet Anwar when the latter had just completed his surgery. He had asked Anwar to not contest, so that he (Azmin) could be president. But Anwar had stressed that he would contest.

“I’m saying this in order to provide the correct background as some of our colleagues had acted harshly among my friends when asked on why we continued to question Azmin’s actions.

“That’s why we didn’t know until the last minute as to whether Azmin would challenge Anwar or not. Azmin also didn’t declare his support when Anwar announced that he would be running for the party presidency,” he said.

He was addressing a press conference after attending a Reformasi ceramah in Tunjong, on Friday night.

Rafizi said this incident was not revealed by Anwar, but was “common knowledge” among party members.

He claimed Anwar’s path to contesting the presidency was not as clear-cut as it seemed.

Asked on the possible parliamentary seat being vacated next week, Rafizi said that so far, no member of parliament has come out to openly declare their willingness to pave the way for Anwar.

He said the individuals were the MPs for Sungai Siput (S. Kesavan), Selayang (William Leong) and Sungai Petani (Datuk Johari Abdul), and that is up to Anwar to make a decision.

“I cannot reveal the details as an official announcement will be made in the near future.

“What I can say is that this matter cannot be rushed. Plans have been laid out well ahead,” he said.

However, Azmin’s political secretary, Hilman Idham, disputed Rafizi’s claims of Azmin having asked Anwar not to contest the party presidency.

Malaysiakini quoted Hilman as saying that while Azmin did go to Turkey, it was done on Anwar’s instruction.

“No one was allowed to meet Anwar during and after his surgery expect for family members. Apart from them, only Azmin was allowed.

“If Azmin really had wanted to meet Anwar (to ask the latter not to contest), Anwar would definitely not have agreed to the meeting. What Rafizi is saying is impossible,” Hilman was quoted as saying.

Hilman, who is also Gombak Setia assemblyman, asked Rafizi not to ‘name drop’ the names of leaders in his campaign.

“As a deputy president candidate, he should stand on his own platform and make his offer to the members. There’s no need to pluck the names of other leaders.

“It will not make PKR any stronger once the party elections are concluded,” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd