Anwar takes veiled dig at Azmin’s meeting with Umno MPs

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim addressing a crowd of over 500 at the ‘Konvensyen Reformis 2019’ in Shah Alam.

SHAH ALAM: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim today took a veiled dig at his deputy, Mohamed Azmin Ali, who has been at odds with him in recent months, over the latter’s meeting with 22 Umno MPs earlier this week.

While he did not name the economic affairs minister when addressing a crowd of over 500 at the “Konvensyen Reformis 2019” here, Anwar alluded to those who negotiated with political rivals.

Earlier, the Port Dickson MP had lamented that there were those who had forgotten the “reformasi” struggle — which was sparked by his dramatic sacking from the government in 1998 — including those in PKR.

This, he said, was because such individuals had forgotten their roots.

He claimed there were ministers who promised development projects in return for support.

“This is a form of abuse of power. They not only met those within the party, but even negotiated with those from rival parties,” he said to shouts of “Azmin”.

“This project, that project? What is this? A party to give out projects?”

Azmin was reported to have met 22 Umno MPs, including Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein, and a few PKR MPs at his official residence in Putrajaya on Monday night.

It was speculated that Azmin, who is PKR deputy president, was attempting to thwart any move to put pressure on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to quit following Pakatan Harapan’s defeat in the Nov 16 Tanjung Piai by-election.

Azmin, however, had said his meeting with the MPs was part of his engagement with the business community as well as MPs to get feedback on government policies.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported to have said that the meeting was to discuss the channelling of government projects to the MPs’ constituencies.

Meanwhile, on the power transition which would see him succeed Mahathir as the prime minister, Anwar said he was opting for a “peaceful one”.

Calls for Mahathir to hand over the reins to Anwar have grown louder following Pakatan Harapan’s devastating loss in the Tanjung Piai by-election.

Under an agreement struck by PH leaders, Mahathir is to hand over power to Anwar on an unspecified date.

Anwar reiterated that the people must give Mahathir and the current administration space to restore the economy, although they should not shy away from offering constructive criticism.

“This is my stand and I plead with you to have patience,” he said, possibly referring to Otai Reformis, which had previously pushed for Mahathir to set a handover date.

“This will make it easier for Tun Mahathir to carry out his duties and will also make it easier for me to carry out mine when I take over.”

Anwar said although there were those attempting to sabotage this agreement, he did not pay attention to them as they were a minority.