The Justice Party, the main coalition member in the Pakatan Harapan government was on the verge of splitting with a faction leaning towards the formation of their own political formation.

This was revealed by a party founder Syed Husin Ali who told the media recently the party deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali wanted to form a new party when the tussle between him and party president Anwar Ibrahim was at its height.

Azmin was then facing the full brunt of a gay-sex video scandal and went into a direct confrontation with party President Anwar Ibrahim.

At that time, Syed Husin said, creating a party was one of the three plans Azmin had, besides jumping to Bersatu, the party of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or joining the opposition party the Gerakan.

However, speculation Azmin wanted to join Bersatu with 20 other party members is not fresh news. There has been speculation that the latter and his ‘friends’ were not welcomed by Bersatu because many of them are not ‘Malays’.

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Dr Mahathir’s party only accepts Malays, Bumiputera. Azmin’s 20 MP’s and party members  include non-Malays as well.

Azmin and some of his followers, which include Ministers and a Chief Minister, are not attending party meetings, saying they have busy ministerial schedules.

But Azmin has attended several Bersatu meetings in the absence of Anwar Ibrahim and has not been seen together with Anwar lately.

Dr Mahathir has also said Azmin did not make any applications to join Bersatu but if he did so, his application would be considered, fuelling speculation Azmin has intentions to jump ship.

Nevertheless, Syed Husin insists there are plans by Azmin and his faction to quit PKR if they have the chance.

“It is well known that they (Azmin and his faction) had three plans from the beginning. The first one was to join Bersatu, but there are some non-Malays in their group and they would have no place in Bersatu,” Syed Husin said to Malaysiakini.

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“They then tried Gerakan and there was a move to check out Gerakan. But Gerakan is too close to BN and some of them are not happy with this.

“I have personal knowledge as to who was negotiating. And I have personal knowledge of the Gerakan leadership wanting to meet Anwar to discuss the matter, but Anwar refused to meet them.

“A very senior member of Azmin’s faction met with Gerakan and the Gerakan leader admitted to this,” Syed Husin elaborated.

Gerakan is an opposition party that was part of the Barisan Nasional coalition when it collapsed in the 2018 general elections.

Syed Husin also believes Azmin and his team planned to provoke the party to sack them by continuously not attending the party meetings, so they can become “heroes”.

But the latter says the split is now under control since Anwar won the backing of 93 percent of party divisions.

Some 93 percent of PKR divisions and 133 out of the 140 PKR leaders who attended a retreat in Port Dickson supported Anwar. -/TISG