KUALA LUMPUR – May 25, 2016: Tensions and schisms are bubbling up in PKR, with its deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali having just enough clout to save the party if its secretary-general Rafizi Ramli stops throwing the spanner into the work.
This is the view of former PKR deputy president Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, who thinks that Azmin has the necessary political skills to strengthen the party.
“Although he does not have Anwar’s (PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) aura, Azmin knows how to interact and relate with different groups of people.
“Also, he has a very important role today. He is the Selangor mentri besar and that gives him quite a lot of clout,” Chandra told The Mole today.
However Chandra believes that it will also be difficult for Azmin to strengthen PKR because a certain clique within the party will make the situation difficult for him.
“Like what Rafizi is doing right now…..” Chandra points out.
Chandra was referring to Rafizi’s recent allegation of corruption within the Selangor government.
And then recent leak of a Whatsapp quarrel between Rafizi and central committee member Latheefa Koya fuelled even more speculations about a power struggle in PKR.
It is widely speculated that a faction linked to party president Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Ismail and is led by Rafizi is feuding with another faction linked to Azmin.
Apparently the Rafizi-led faction is not happy with Azmin’s support of former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘Citizens’ Declaration’ movement.
And it was said that they became even more disturbed when Azmin did not respond to Anwar’s calls when he urged PKR leaders to stop following Mahathir’s agenda.
There is also a school of thought which blames Anwar for factionalising PKR but Chandra does not agree with this assumption.
To Chandra cliques and power struggles had existed in the party since it was established in April 1999 as Keadilan.
“I was the first deputy president so I know this. It is not new and it is not because of Anwar is in jail.
“Keadilan was made up of different people with different tendencies and orientations.
“You have former Umno members, people from Abim (Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia) and JIM (Jemaah Islah Malaysia), academicians, activists and all sorts of people from disparate backgrounds,” he said.
Nevertheless, Chandra said that the glue that kept them together was the perceived injustice done to Anwar at that time.
“So, when he (Anwar) was out of jail (September 2004) he was able to give the party some semblance of unity when in actuality it was very superficial.
“So, now that the man is in jail again, he cannot play the role and you find the fissures within the party have come to the fore again,” said Chandra.