I didn't say I don't back Anwar, says Azmin after backing calls for Mahathir to serve full term as PM

Datuk Seri Azmin Ali also denied leading a group of opposition leaders to meet Dr Mahathir, urging him to complete his full term. PHOTO: REUTERS

GEORGE TOWN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has denied talk that he is not supporting party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia's next prime minister.

"Don't make your own assumptions. I did meet Anwar and agree we have issues, but I believe in the wisdom of party leaders and members in resolving them," he said when asked if his support for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to stay for a full term meant he was not supporting Mr Anwar.

Mr Azmin, however, did not say when he met Mr Anwar.

The Economic Affairs Minister spoke at a press conference after chairing a meeting with the Penang government on the 12th Malaysia Plan on Friday (Aug 2).

Mr Azmin also denied leading a group of opposition leaders to meet Dr Mahathir, urging him to complete his full term.

"I have a lot of meetings with the Prime Minister and I don't know which one you refer to, " he said.

The Star reported that opposition representatives met Dr Mahathir on Tuesday to urge him to stay the full term, as they felt that nobody should take over the country's helm midway.

While Dr Mahathir did not indicate the identity of the opposition representatives, those in attendance at the meeting were said to include former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, PAS vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Samsuri Ahmad Mokhtar, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan and Gabungan Parti Sarawak chief whip Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

A high-ranking Pakatan Harapan leader, who is also a Cabinet minister, was also said to have been present after having been called to join the meeting by Dr Mahathir.

On accusations that he prioritised his ministerial work over party matters, Mr Azmin said he gave equal importance to both.

"Even tonight (yesterday), I am meeting party leaders. It's not true that I do not give importance to the party.

"I head a lot of ministerial meetings and bodies, and I give a lot of priority to economic affairs.

"Even my discussions with the Prime Minister are matters related to economic affairs, " he said.

Mr Azmin came under fire from party leaders recently for not attending party meetings, including the PKR retreat in Port Dickson.

He also said it was not true that Kedah was getting more development funds at Penang's expense.

"Penang has its own strengths and every state in the northern region, including Perlis and Perak, complement each other under the Northern Corridor Economic Region.

"The meeting today discussed funding of several high-impact projects in Penang, including the Penang Transport Master Plan, but nothing specific, " he said.

Mr Azmin said he was impressed by the Penang government's economic planning and its emphasis on family values.

"The meeting today discussed comprehensive development of various sectors in the state, and how the Federal Government and the state could work together for greater economic progress, " he said.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, state exco members, heads of federal and state government agencies were also present at the meeting.

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