PETALING JAYA: With the gay sex video controversy threatening to ignite PKR’s much talked-of infighting, sources say the cracks are now being replicated in PPBM, with factions torn between supporters of Dr Mahathir Mohamad and those insisting that his time in office is up.
One PPBM source who has access to the party’s inner circles spoke to FMT about the existence of a “pro-Anwar Ibrahim” faction in the party.
He said calls for Mahathir to retire and pass the baton to Anwar, as promised by Pakatan Harapan (PH) during the general election campaign last year, have been gaining momentum among some within PPBM.
The faction has become more vocal in recent days in the wake of the gay sex video saga targeted at Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Top PPBM leaders have echoed Azmin’s claim of a political conspiracy to bring him down. They include its chairman Mahathir who backed Azmin, the man he handpicked to be part of the federal Cabinet after PH’s election victory last year.
But one source said those backing Azmin in the gay sex saga were not really fans of the PKR deputy president.
“They don’t have a preference for Azmin and would follow the succession plan for Mahathir. In any case, Azmin has been supportive of Mahathir’s leadership,” he said.
Under an agreement struck among PH parties, Mahathir is to hand over power to Anwar who will become the country’s eighth prime minister.
There is no specific time frame for this, although there have been calls from PKR-linked groups for a handover date.
Meanwhile, the “pro-Anwar” camp in PPBM has no choice but to align with the man who was once their last choice for prime minister.
“Those in the pro-Anwar camp are those who do not seem to be favoured by Mahathir,” said one party leader loyal to the veteran statesman.
“They continue to undermine him through their articles or social media posts. They can bark but the people know they don’t have the depth to govern.”
Political commentator Azmi Hassan from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said it would not be surprising to see pro-Azmin and pro-Anwar camps in PPBM.
He said as parties prepare for a future without Mahathir at the top, politicians will jostle to position themselves in the “right” camp, creating factions in the ruling parties.
But not in DAP, said Azmi.
“For DAP, I believe there is only one camp and they are rooting for Anwar to become the next PM.”
Meanwhile, factionalism in PPBM is likely to be out in the open as the party heads for its elections this year.
The Mahathir loyalist who spoke to FMT cannot wait for that day. For him, it is the time to flush out the “Anwar camp” whom he regards as undermining Mahathir.
“The coming party elections are important because we need to flush these people out.”
And it seems that the promise to make Anwar the PM, for this leader at least, is not cast in stone.
“There could be other Malay leaders who could succeed Tun (Mahathir) based on merit and performance. Investors need to see less politicking and continuity regardless of whether Anwar, Azmin or even (PPBM president) Muhyiddin Yassin, for that matter, is in charge.”
For Azmi, the “Azmin sex saga” has only made the transition promise more fluid.
“It could see Mahathir continuing as PM for an extended period,” he added.