Analyst tells why Zuraida’s sacking could kill Anwar’s prime ministerial ambition

Dr Mahathir Mohamad will welcome more MPs to strengthen his party, including Zuraida Kamaruddin and her supporters in the event she is sacked from PKR. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Any decision to sack Zuraida Kamaruddin could backfire on PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, and ultimately affect his chances of taking over from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said an analyst.

Political observer Azmi Hassan said it would be in PKR’s best interest to retain Zuraida, who has been issued a show-cause letter by the party’s disciplinary board.

Azmi predicts that Zuraida and her supporters could find a new home in PPBM.

“And Mahathir would benefit, because more MPs for PPBM would mean his position is stronger and he will have the clout to stay on as prime minister,” he told FMT.

“Anwar loyalists would not want that,” he said.

Mahathir has promised to give way to Anwar after the Apec summit in November, but Anwar loyalists have called for a transition in May, when Mahathir would have completed two years in the top post.

Zuraida is aligned to deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, who has openly supported Mahathir to complete the five-year term.

Zuraida is facing possible sacking from PKR over comments seen as critical of Anwar at a pro-Azmin event last month.

Yesterday, 45 PKR leaders urged the disciplinary committee to halt further action against Zuraida, saying the move was ill-intentioned and would only worsen the party’s internal rift.

Azmi said the disciplinary committee may find excuses to sack her, but warned that it would only increase tension between Anwar and Azmin, both of whom have “prime ministerial ambition”.

A party insider told FMT that Zuraida may be let off with a warning.

“But it all depends on the tone of her response,” said the source who is close to Anwar’s inner circle.

“We are waiting to see the tone of her letter. If her tone is apologetic, it shows she wants to patch things up with Anwar.

“But if her reply is harsh, we will have to push for her sacking,” he told FMT.

Another source said he was sure Zuraida would not be sacked.

He said this was based on the decision not to sack Anwar’s key ally, his political secretary Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak, despite the latter’s condemnation of Azmin in the wake of the gay sex video affair.

In August 2019, the PKR disciplinary board said it was satisfied with the explanations given by Farhash.

The source said Zuraida’s long absence from party meetings would also not work against her.

“If Zuraida can show that she had ministerial commitments on the days she was absent, she may be let off,” he said.