PKR truce called, averting showdown at party assembly

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the biggest component in the ruling coalition in Malaysia, agreed to an eleventh-hour compromise late yesterday, averting open warfare between party president Anwar Ibrahim and his deputy, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, at its four-day national assembly starting today.

In showdown talks which followed a fortnight of political manoeuvring and attacks, the party's top leadership agreed to reinstate the traditional opening of the youth wing by the deputy president, while maintaining a newly introduced closing address of the youth meeting by Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Datuk Seri Anwar's wife.

A planned "parallel congress" by Mr Azmin's faction in Kuala Lumpur has been called off. It was earlier slated to run concurrently with the main body's meeting in Melaka, which will be officiated and closed by Mr Anwar.

"The youth and women's congresses will be officiated by Azmin on Thursday, while both will be closed by the Deputy Prime Minister on Friday evening," PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil told reporters.

Asked if the two camps were now at peace, he replied: "God willing, Keadilan will become more solid and stronger as a result of these discussions and the results will be shown during the congress."

Deputy youth chief Hilman Idham, who is also Mr Azmin's political secretary, called on "all delegates, observers and the entire PKR youth movement from across the country to attend the youth congress on Dec 5 and 6, as well as the national congress on Dec 7 and 8 in Melaka".

The Straits Times understands that an earlier move to sack the youth wing's permanent chairman, Mr Mizan Adli Noor, and his deputy, Mr Ramly Ahmad - both allies of Economic Affairs Minister Azmin - will likely be rescinded, although details were not finalised at the meeting. "The meeting was to resolve matters regarding the congress. Other issues will have to wait," a source said.

The deal heads off potential chaos that would have ensued from the battle to control proceedings and to show who has larger support. The feud stretching back to at least 2014 has reached fever pitch since PKR became the biggest party in Parliament, with 50 MPs, after Pakatan Harapan coalition's shock win at the May 2018 General Election.

In June, Mr Azmin was implicated in a gay sex video clip and Mr Anwar denied involvement after his political secretary was arrested during police investigations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2019, with the headline 'PKR truce called, averting showdown at party assembly'. Print Edition | Subscribe