SHAH ALAM: PKR’s youth deputy chief Muhammad Hilman Idham today insisted that party deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali officiate its congress this year after his invitation was withdrawn.
He said the party’s national youth congress should continue with Azmin officiating the opening ceremony, maintaining that it was the tradition of the party.
Traditionally, the party’s deputy president is invited to open the national conventions of the party’s youth and women’s wings.
Hilman highlighted that the initial invitation to Azmin was only for the closing ceremony.
“All PKR Youth movements and representatives at the national and branch levels will be mobilised to defend PKR traditions and convention,” he told reporters at a press conference after the youth wing’s meeting here tonight.
The meeting was attended by 132 out of the 196 division leaders nationwide.
Hilman added that Azmin had agreed to officiate the congress from the very beginning.
Prior to this, several PKR Youth leaders had hit out at the party’s secretary-general, Saifuddin Nasution, for allegedly withdrawing Azmin’s invitation to officiate the youth congress.
In a joint statement, the group led by Hilman said the alleged move by Saifuddin gave the impression that the party was fraught with crises.
This sparked a war of words between PKR Youth chief Akmal Nasir and Azmin, with the latter calling Akmal a weak leader and claiming that hidden hands were behind the youth wing’s decision to retract his invitation.
Akmal hit back at Azmin, saying the decision to withdraw his invitation was a reflection of the deputy president’s shortcomings, adding that he “did not respect the party and its struggle”.
He said the decision by the PKR youth council, following its meeting on Oct 20, was based on Azmin’s failure to reply to the invite, six weeks after it was sent.
It was speculated that the youth wing did not want Azmin, the party’s deputy president, to open its national congress this year as its members felt that he often made statements that contradicted PKR’s stand.
Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is set to officiate the party’s youth congress this year instead, following the withdrawal of Azmin’s invitation, according to Akmal.
On another matter, Hilman stated his support for the Sarawak PKR leadership after they refused to budge from their decision not to hold the state-level party convention this Saturday.
He said the principles of democracy, autonomy and freedom of speech needed to be defended by every member and leader of the party.
Hilman said the youth divisional leaders had also been briefed on the controversial meeting Azmin had with more than 20 BN MPs on Monday night, adding that issues on national development were discussed that night.
He added that he and the divisional leaders were dedicated to defending Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad from any efforts to threaten his leadership.
“This is a question of the mandate given by the people.”