KUALA LUMPUR: PKR deputy president Azmin Ali says Selangor PKR was not informed of a joint statement by other state-level parties in Pakatan Harapan to support Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the opposition coalition’s candidate for prime minister in the 14th general election.
He said allegations that Selangor PKR was not in agreement with the other three components on the matter were not true and were intended to create a rift among them.
“I have discussed with Selangor PKR on this. We were never referred to about the statement.
“So the issue of PKR not agreeing with the others does not arise,” said Azmin, who is Selangor PKR chairman and state menteri besar.
“We only came to know about it from media reports,” he told reporters at the newly-built Masjid Zakaria in Jalan Gombak here today.
On Jan 7, PH had announced PPBM chairman Mahathir as its candidate for prime minister and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as deputy prime minister at its convention in Shah Alam.
The next day, Selangor PKR communications head Hizwan Ahmad said it was strange for the coalition not to select its prime minister from PKR, claiming that the party had a sterling record in helming the Selangor government.
On Jan 9, Selangor PPBM chairman Abdul Rashid Asari, state DAP chairman Tony Pua and state Amanah chief Izham Hashim signed a statement declaring support for the decision made by the PH presidential council, with Azmin’s signature conspicuously missing.
As speculation stirred about friction among the components, state PKR deputy chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said Azmin and the other state party leaders had not known about the statement.
Meanwhile, Azmin said Hizwan’s assertion was merely a voice from the grassroots that needed to be heard.
“In the struggle towards reform, we need to give space to our members and citizens to air their views,” he said.
“This is not a dictatorial regime where the people and our party members cannot even give their opinions.”
Azmin said today he would ensure the state PKR leaders supported the decision to select Mahathir, 92, who was prime minister for 22 years till 2003.
He said it was the responsibility of all leaders and ordinary members to support the decision, adding that he believed it would help the coalition muster support in the polls.
After reports emerged that Selangor PKR was not happy with the decision on Mahathir as prime minister, Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman said this plainly showed that the opposition’s house was not in order.
He said PH’s move to select the 92-year-old former prime minister was in conflict with the “reformasi” (reformation) slogan chanted by some PKR supporters at Sunday’s PH convention, where the decision was announced.
“It is apparent that some PKR supporters still hold dear to the ‘reformasi’ cry – the very movement that Tun Mahathir quashed after he put its leader, Anwar Ibrahim, in jail almost 20 years ago,” he said.