KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has called on Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Azmin Ali to remain calm in a public spat with her husband Anwar Ibrahim.
PKR's deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin last week criticised party president Datuk Seri Anwar for making several internal appointments that he feared could worsen the party's factional infighting.
The Anwar-Azmin spat is being closely watched as ruling party PKR has 50 MPs, the biggest number of lawmakers in Malaysia's Parliament, and there is speculation about changing political loyalties and possible defections.
"Keep cool, cool," Dr Wan Azizah told the media on Monday evening, when asked to comment on the spat between the two PKR leaders.
"I think (Azmin should) let the new president lead the party. We have actually chosen him (to lead). And as he said, it is the prerogative of the president, who is also the unity factor in the party," she said.
Dr Wan Azizah was PKR's president since its founding in 1999, passing the baton to her husband only in August last year.
Economic Affairs Minister Azmin issued a statement last Saturday urging Mr Anwar to review recent appointments to PKR's central leadership council, saying they did not reflect the members' principle of "fair and just representation" and would not help the party to move forward.
In response, Mr Anwar said although his deputy was entitled to his personal views, party matters should be discussed within the organisation. He also defended his move to appoint vice-presidents to the council, adding to those elected in the November party polls.
Among other issues, Mr Azmin and his faction in PKR are said to be unhappy with Mr Anwar appointing Mr Rafizi Ramli as one of the party's new vice-presidents.
Mr Azmin had in November retained his deputy presidency of PKR after fending off a strong challenge from Mr Rafizi.
Dr Wan Azizah, when asked about reports that Mr Azmin might challenge Mr Anwar for the party's presidency, said anybody could do that. "Anybody can challenge (Anwar). I remember, even in Umno in the past (someone) challenged (former Umno president) Datuk Onn Jaafar. It happens in any political party."
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK