Three parties to hold annual meets next week but most eyes on PKR

Zainal Epi
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali attend PKR’s 20th anniversary celebrations at Dataran Rantau, Negri Sembilan April 4, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

COMMENTARY, Nov 29 — The PKR national congress next weekend will be the most-watched of three happening at the same time.

The others are that of Umno, the backbone of Barisan Nasional (BN), and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) that is not seen as relevant or important enough to affect the country’s politics.

The PKR congress may or may not see the end of the rift between party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his deputy, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. Time will tell.

Azmin will open the PKR Wanita assembly instead of PKR Youth congress by tradition.

The PKR headquarters appears synchronised with Anwar. It chipped away at Azmin’s supporters in the past few days.

Anwar and Azmin have not been on good terms since the latter became the economic affairs minister. Matters became worse when word got around that Azmin is tipped to replace Anwar as the next prime minister.

Since then, the two have been sarcastic towards each other.

Last week, Anwar told off those who forgot their roots when they became ministers, in a veiled reference to Azmin and his sidekick, PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Next week’s assembly may see the delegates calling for action against Azmin and Zuraida but likely not for their expulsion.

Or they could. In which case, Anwar would probably neutralise such calls as he might continue to “play around” like a cat playing with its food, the mouse, knowing that the “victim will no longer be able to fight back.”

At the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here, Malaysians may see Umno celebrating BN’s victory in Tanjung Piai.

Delegates may bash Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman, over issues such as the return of former communist chief Chin Peng’s ashes into the country.

The debate may centre on Dr Mahathir’s weaknesses in controlling DAP and higher cost of living.

The debate may also propose further moves to strengthen the co-operation with PAS, which is the fundamental political structure for the Malays in the next general election.

The debate will be attractive as the delegates will continue bashing DAP, Dr Mahathir and Bersatu.

After all, only two parties in the Opposition now champion the Malay and Islamic cause. These are Umno and PAS, while Bersatu in the ruling coalition is not seen as champions of the Malay cause despite being a Malay-based party.

Amanah, on the other hand, may not attract a Malay or Malaysian audience. The party started as a liberal Islamic party open only to Malays but changed into a multi-racial party when it failed to stand on its Islamic struggle.

It failed to weaken PAS when the group left the Islamist party and formed Amanah in 2016. Its failure to attract the Malays led it to open its membership to all races.

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