Worst yet to come for PKR, say analysts

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim with his deputy Mohamed Azmin Ali and other party leaders at the PKR headquarters in Kuala Lumpur last September.

PETALING JAYA: Political analysts warn that more conflict could lie in store for PKR despite the positive statements issued by the party’s top leaders Anwar Ibrahim and Mohamed Azmin Ali over the weekend, following a series of heated exchanges in the wake of the gay sex video saga.

Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and James Chin from the University of Tasmania said “the worst” could still be ahead for PKR.

The worst-case scenario could see the party breaking up, Azmi added.

PKR president Anwar had sought to reassure his supporters yesterday that he and Azmin were still “a team”, while Azmin said he and Anwar had worked together for “many decades”.

But while the PKR deputy president appeared to accept the olive branch from Anwar, he also spoke of “limits” to his loyalty.

The two have been at odds over the gay sex video controversy, which saw Anwar urging Azmin to resign from his position as economic affairs minister if he is proven to be one of the two men seen in the clips.

On Friday, top cop Abdul Hamid Bador said analysis of the videos showed they were likely genuine although the facial recognition process results were negative.

Azmi said the root of the rift between Anwar and Azmin is the question of who will succeed Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.

This, he said, would hamper Mahathir’s ability to end the feud even by being neutral.

Under an agreement struck by Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties, Mahathir will hand over power to Anwar. The PH chairman has repeatedly vowed to honour his promise although rumours persist that Azmin could end up as prime minister instead.

Chin meanwhile predicted a confrontation between Anwar and Azmin unless the former backs down. However, he said it is unlikely that Anwar will do so as he is preparing to replace Mahathir as prime minister.

He agreed that Mahathir would be unable to stop the infighting due to the perception that he wants Azmin to succeed him.

“Most of Anwar’s supporters will ignore any calls by Mahathir (to stop the infighting).

“A truce will likely only happen when Anwar and Azmin agree on who gets what when one of them becomes prime minister.”

He said a more crucial factor would be the police probe into the gay sex video clips which investigators have attributed to a “political leader”.

Chin said all hell could break loose in PKR depending on who this “political leader” is.

“It’s incredible that despite PH’s falling popularity, these games are still being played,” he added.

“It’s as if PH is asking to be defeated in the next general election.”

Universiti Malaya analyst Awang Azman Pawi said a consensus on Anwar as the next prime minister must be reached in order for PKR to move on from the saga.

“More importantly, the PH Presidential Council must reaffirm that Anwar is Mahathir’s sole successor as prime minister,” he said.

“This issue will only be resolved on the day that Anwar takes his oath as the prime minister in front of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”