Pick those with power, not the jobless, Azmin tells PKR members

Mohamed Azmin Ali greeted by supporters at a PKR division meeting in Petaling Jaya.

PETALING JAYA: PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali today launched a scathing attack on his critics by urging party members to choose leaders who have positions in the government and not those who are “jobless”.

The economic affairs minister did not name his target, but supporters of Rafizi Ramli, his sole challenger for the number two post in the coming party polls, have stepped up attacks on Azmin by suggesting that he was undermining the party and its supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

Rafizi, one of the PKR vice-presidents, is not part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government as he did not defend his Pandan federal seat in the May elections due to fears of being disqualified over a criminal conviction. The seat was contested by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, now the deputy prime minister.

Supporters of Rafizi have said that he represents the reformasi struggle, PKR’s battle cry in the last two decades since its formation on the back of protests against the then Dr Mahathir Mohamad administration.

But Azmin said that reformasi belonged to all Malaysians.

“Reformasi is not a private property, it belongs to the people. Two or three upstarts are questioning my loyalty to this struggle,” Azmin said at the Perdana Selangor PKR divisional meeting here.

Kapar MP Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, who is aligned to Rafizi, has recently urged Azmin to prove his loyalty to Anwar by vacating his seat to the PKR leader, who has said he would make a parliamentary comeback by October.

Azmin today shot back at the suggestion.

“Then comes a voice from some estate or forest telling me to prove loyalty to the party.

“Podah,” the former Selangor menteri besar said, using a derogatory term in Tamil which means “get lost”.

Azmin said party members should stay loyal to the struggle and not individual leaders, adding that there were some PKR MPs whose political survival was by “kissing hands”.

He said he and Anwar would take PKR to greater heights.

“I cannot do it without the support of party members,” he added.