PETALING JAYA: As the contest between Azmin Ali and Rafizi Ramli heats up for the post of PKR deputy president, more revelations are being made about the split in the party.
In the words of Rafizi Ramli, who is trying to unseat Azmin Ali as deputy president in the coming party elections, there has never been such a stark “ideological divide” in PKR.
At a rally in Perai on Sept 13, Azmin said some of those in the party who were criticising him fled the country at the height of the Reformasi movement fearing a crackdown on supporters of PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim after he was sacked as deputy prime minister.
“I am not angry at these people, but I am sometimes frustrated. I can list those who fled. And two years after everything subsided, they came back and started thumping their chests, claiming that they were the real reformists. Looking back at 1998… where were these ‘pure reformists’ then?” he asked.
Today, Rafizi gave details about the differences between the two camps over the past four years that have led to the current messy situation in the party.
In an interview with The Star, Rafizi said Azmin and his allies had been against launching the Pakatan Harapan, preferring a union with PAS.
“Likewise when we decided to bring in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Bersatu (PPBM) and agreed to the consensus that he becomes the seventh prime minister.
“People like Haniza (PKR Wanita deputy chief Haniza Talha), Zuraida (PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin) and Azmin were against it on the basis that we should have a younger prime minister,” Rafizi was quoted as saying.
Rafizi also claimed that there were “backdoor arrangements” and moves that had frustrated the key decisions of the party leadership. He did not give details.
With Anwar as the prime minister-in-waiting, the party needed a solid team that moved in one direction, he said.
“While we entertain different opinions, we can’t continuously tear at each other like this on major strategic decisions. We don’t want other backdoor arrangements or discussions or moves that can frustrate (key decisions), because that has always happened in the last four years.
“And there’s enough party people who feel that Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and his group has not necessarily been on the same page with key party decisions,” said Rafizi.
Rafizi said PKR members would need to elect a deputy president who best “fits and complements” Anwar.
He said they could vote Azmin, a cabinet minister, who could use the strength of his track record in government position to strengthen the party further and bring it to a new level.
The other choice, he said, was to opt for a candidate who was active on the ground.
“If the party decides that we want to support Anwar’s leadership by having a much wider grassroots network, then the party members would decide to go with me. It’s two options on what kind of party PKR will be in the next 10 years,” The Star quoted Rafizi as saying.