MELAKA - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) members must stop engaging in infighting, and rally together to ensure the party's strength and stability, Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said when closing the party's women and youth wings' annual meetings on Friday (Dec 6), after a shambolic day tainted by violence and fighting at the youth congress.
In her speech, she talked about party machinery being paid to campaign to defeat one's own friends.
"Friends would then be seen as the enemy that needs to be booted out of the party. I am worried about this phenomenon... Don't let our party be destroyed because of infighting," Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah, who is PKR advisory council chairman, told some 1,000 delegates from the two wings.
"Stop fighting amongst ourselves as it will not benefit anyone," she said.
Her comments come amid a bitter power struggle between rival factions aligned to party president Anwar Ibrahim and his deputy Azmin Ali, that appears to have continued despite an apparent truce reached between the two leaders on Wednesday.
Brawls ensued between security personnel and members from the pro-Azmin faction on Friday after the meeting organisers prevented some members from entering the hall for the youth wing's morning session.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is Datuk Seri Anwar's wife, acknowledged that the party had seen a lot of strife among its leaders and members since the start and that this was normal for an active party.
PKR celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, having been formed in the wake of street protests over Mr Anwar's sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998. It is the largest party in Malaysia's ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.
"It's a party, it's dynamic. If it's a dead party, it would be boring," she told reporters jokingly at a press conference after her speech.
But she said she "regretted" the violent incident that took place earlier at the youth meet and said there were "a lot of agents provocateurs probably. Let the police do their investigations."
Mr Anwar is set to deliver his keynote address at the national congress on Saturday for the first time as party president since winning the post uncontested last year.
The national congress is expected to be attended by nearly 3,000 delegates and will end on Sunday.