Opinion Asia This Week Break PKR and ruin Anwar's bid for PM?

Break PKR and ruin Anwar’s bid for PM?

Will the attempted dissolution of The People's Justice Party or Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) stop Anwar in his tracks?

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Anwar Ibrahim is counting on a maximum number of MPs in the Parliament to support his bid to become the next PM of Malaysia.

According to his calculations, May 2020 should be the fateful date.

For Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, this date is coming at a rapid pace and with things going south for his government, he has to buck up.

Not that he will not respect the deal he made with Anwar and his people before the 2018 elections.

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But because there is a grey area in the deal made in haste.

However, whatever pressure the people around Dr Mahathir may put on the PM, he will have to respect his end of the bargain.

Be it May 9, 2020, or something nearer or even a bit further ahead of that fateful date.

Political Transition
For those who do not have a clue what is going on in Malaysia, here is a broader perspective.

In the run-up to the 2018 polls in Malaysia, Dr Mahathir created a party, the Bersatu for short. And he rallied his old-timers and young followers who did not agree with PM Najib Razak’s policies. They were also not in the good books of the PM, perhaps because they were known to be ‘Mahathir’ people?

But they joined the elderly statesman in a dog fight that led the Bersatu to join the Pakatan Harapan coalition. The PH is a spin-off from the defunct Pakatan Rakyat or People’s Coalition where the Islamists from the PAS were present. They left, and this led to the untimely collapse of the PR.

The PR was built by Anwar Ibrahim after the demise of the Barisan Alternatif, another opposition grouping that was blasted to pieces in the 2004 elections.

PH went into the elections with Dr Mahathir as the Prime Minister. This did not go down well with a lot of people in the opposition.

But they had to pinch their noses and swallow the oil, so to say, to beat Najib in the elections.

Dr Mahathir gave the PH one aim: Conquer and remove Najib from power.

The PKR agreed, but it was the wing headed by current Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali who brokered the deal with Dr Mahathir.

Did they make a backdoor deal with the Bersatu while the PH leadership got a deal from Dr Mahathir on his promise to resign and hand over power to Anwar?

This is the official part of the political transition the country is supposed to witness not too far in the future.

Backdoor Deal?
But just when Anwar Ibrahim was taking things with a dose of quietude, there came a series of scandals that shook his party, the PKR.

First was the extraordinary gay-sex scenes from videos that went viral purportedly showing Azmin in gay-sex acts with a party member.

A party member then confessed that he was in the video with Azmin. But he also ends the video with a weird call that Azmin is a corrupt leader and should be fired.

People questioned his motive, the party fired him but did not fire Azmin maybe because the minister carried too much weight to be pushed aside.

Nevertheless, since this incident, the party started to show cracks with leaders signing letters in support of Azmin, blasting Anwar their leader for a plot that no one even suspected existed.

The plot is supposed to tarnish Azmin’s reputation and blame him for the video, while this would open the way for Anwar to bid for the PM post unopposed.

Yet, if we take Dr Mahathir for his words, the question of who will be the next PM was never on the table other than that it was agreed Anwar should be the man.

Azmin was never in the picture, thus the confusion over reports that Azmin is competing to beat Anwar to the post.

Thus, the issue of a backdoor deal came into friction against Anwar’s expectations to hold the post once Dr M quits.

We started this article saying Anwar is confident and knows he needs a majority of votes in the Parliament to rule the country.

Divide and Rule?
But there is a division in the PKR with some MPs showing allegiance to Azmin. Blind allegiance one would say and this is toxic.

The toxicity is such that it has crept into the youth wing and is eating into the grassroots, though the impact is still minimal.

Nonetheless, losing some MPs in this crucial time is not a good sign for Anwar.

One thing is clear. There is an attempt to divide the PKR, again, perhaps with the hope that by breaking the biggest party in the country, Anwar’s chance to become PM will be nullified.

But this has its flaws too. Anwar is winning both in the battle of allegiance and the wind of sympathy.
While the Bersatu seems to be flirting with Azmin, the Johor Tanjong Piai beating it got may have doused its excitement to have Azmin in its camp.

One thing is certain. If the Azmin camp had more MPs on their side in Parliament, they would have crucified Anwar by now. But they are still on the sidelines and this indicates only one thing, they do not have the majority.

Will they deepen the divide or will Anwar defeat them in the next rounds of infighting in the party?

This weekend, Anwar got the support of a majority of party leaders in the firing of a party chief. If this is any indication, breaking the PKR may not be the solution to stop Anwar! /TISG

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