Rumours of separate PKR congress spread, but leaders claim to be in the dark

Ida Lim And Kenneth Tee

Rumours of a parallel assembly to be opened by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali at the same time as the ruling party’s official congress in Melaka next weekend has been circulating in political circles. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The long simmering rift between PKR’s top two leaders appears to be coming to a boil as rumours of a parallel assembly to be opened by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali at the same time as the ruling party’s official congress in Melaka next weekend has been circulating in political circles.

Most senior members of PKR’s central leaders, including Fuziah Salleh, said they had no information of the alleged parallel congress when contacted, but one acknowledged there have been “talks” of it.

“Cakap-cakap ada, but there is no official announcement,” Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, a member of the PKR central leadership council better known by its Malay initials MPP, told Malay Mail today.

His advice was to contact the party officials for verification.

Malay Mail tried to reach out to Azmin’s close aides for comment but was not successful at the time of writing.

Rashid is seen to be one of several PKR leaders aligned with Azmin and had joined him in signing a November 29 memorandum to object to the recent sacking of PKR divisional leader Zakaria Abdul Hamid over alleged corruption.

The memorandum was signed by 20 leaders seen as opposed to the leadership of party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, including Azmin and Zakaria himself.

Another pro-Azmin PKR MPP member, Hee Loy Sian, also claimed to be clueless about the parallel congress, rumoured will be held in Kuala Lumpur concurrent with the official congress in Melaka from December 5 to 8.

“I have no idea. We only have one in Melaka,” Hee said when contacted.

When contacted, PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said “not to my knowledge” while Fuziah said she has “no information” about the rumoured parallel congress.

Other PKR leaders criticised attempts to hold parallel party conventions.

PKR treasurer-general Lee Chean Chung claimed to have never heard of the parallel congress, saying it would not only be morally wrong but also an offence that would open the ruling party to investigations from the Registrar of Societies.

“The party congress is the highest decision-making platform of a party. Any attempt to undermine It is a serious offence, and worse, a betrayal to the struggles of the party and 900,000 members.

“If I, a relatively young politician can understand this basic party 123, I am sure the more senior ones in Keadilan would agree with me on this,” he told Malay Mail.

“No organisation will tolerate parallel congress. No members with sanity will accept parallel meeting,” he added.

PKR MPP leader Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdullah Hamid did not mince his words when asked about the purported second congress, further suggesting that Azmin form his own party if he planned to hold his own assembly.

“What congress, kongres haram? Do it, ask him to form a new party. Didn’t hear of the rumours, ask him to form his own party. If he cannot follow one party, ask him to form a new party, ask the new friends to enter his party.

“It’s good for him to make own party, don’t be stubborn. You do not respect the party, not coming for meeting, against the constitution, my advice is for him to form his own party. Why is he still with this party? If you don’t have trust with this, you better get out,” he said when contacted.

Anwar’s political secretary Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak later told Malay Mail: “There is only one congress. Anything other than that is just a conference for defiants.”

PKR advisory council chairman Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was reported earlier today as affirming only one “official” national congress for her party, which will be held in Melaka from December 5 to 8.

PKR is seen to be in the midst of a protracted power struggle that has been ongoing since its internal election last year.

Party members are said to be divided into one of two camps: for Anwar who currently holds no Cabinet position, but has been named as the next Pakatan Harapan prime minister after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and his PKR deputy Azmin, who is economic affairs minister and is seen to have close ties with their coalition chairman.

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