KLANG • Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Azmin Ali is fighting fire on many sides in the general election.
He not only needs to fend off his political foes, he also has to handle enemies within his party.
Now, his own brother is on his back.
Datuk Seri Azmin, who enjoyed strong support and backing from the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) grassroots in his Gombak constituency in the past, may suffer the repercussions of the opposition split with the Islamist party.
The 54-year-old will face at least a three-cornered fight for the seat in Gombak, Selangor. He has to face Gombak Umno chief Abdul Rahim Pandak Kamaruddin, 62, and PAS Youth deputy chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin, 34.
Mr Azmin, the Selangor Menteri Besar, is also facing some internal issues within PKR, with another faction trying to dislodge him.
And now his younger brother, Malaysian celebrity Azwan, is going all out to tarnish his image.
The popular talk show host says he will stand as an independent in the Bukit Antarabangsa state seat, where Mr Azmin is the incumbent.
"Hot, hot, hot... I can confirm that I will contest as an independent using the elephant logo. I am going there because I am confident that Bukit Antarabangsa residents are sick of Azmin's false promises," Mr Azwan, 52, told Malay daily Sinar Harian.
But Mr Azmin's political secretary, Mr Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei, said his boss has the experience and expertise to overcome any political challenges that may go his way.
"Azmin is very smart. Don't underestimate him. He is capable of making last-minute movements that no one can predict," he said.
Mr Azwan said he is not afraid of losing and would be satisfied with even one vote. "I have gone to the Election Commission to show that I am serious about contesting."
He said he has drawn up his own manifesto for Bukit Antarabangsa, including finding a solution to the Selangor water supply issue and combating corruption.
This was not the first time Mr Azwan has attacked his brother publicly. Last year, he attended Umno's annual assembly and declared that he would help Barisan Nasional take down Mr Azmin.
Meanwhile, PKR election candidates who decide to switch sides after winning their seats will be slapped with a RM10 million (S$3.4 million) fine by the party, said a party official in Negeri Sembilan.
The state's PKR chief, Mr Aminuddin Harun, said those who were given their candidate appointment letters by party president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail must sign a legal document agreeing to the fine.
"In the last election, the fine was RM5 million. It is higher this time because we expect a closer fight," he said after introducing nine PKR candidates on Tuesday.
In previous elections, Members of Parliament or state assemblymen had jumped ship after winning on the ticket of another party.
In Malaysia, lawmakers can change sides and still keep their seats.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK