KUALA LUMPUR - The chief of Malaysia's Parti Gerakan on Friday (July 26) said it has not received any application from a leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to join up.
Gerakan president Dominic Lau was responding to speculation that PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and several other leaders might jump ship amid a bitter row with PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim over a gay sex video said to implicate Datuk Seri Azmin.
"There has been no formal discussion about this, but an 'indirect discussion' took place between the party and PKR leaders," Datuk Lau said in a statement, as quoted by The Star news site on Friday.
He said the "indirect discussion" took place before the sex video clips were spread last month, but that he did not know whether the PKR leaders he met were representing Mr Azmin, Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister.
Mr Lau claimed that rumours of Mr Azmin's intention to join Gerakan had surfaced even before the sex video incident, The Star reported.
Datuk Seri Anwar, asked about speculation over Mr Azmin leaving PKR, told reporters at the Parliament building: "I did not hear anything about this. I only heard about it from the media, but as said before, it's not true."
Pressed on the matter, he said the two of them were still working as a team.
"We move on. Domo arigato (thank you), " Mr Anwar said.
The speculation over Mr Azmin's possible move arose in the last two days as the Anwar-Azmin fight has shown little sign of abating, with their supporters continuing to attack the rival camp.
Gerakan, which once controlled the Penang state assembly and whose ranks included federal Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, left the former ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) after BN lost last year's general election.
A Chinese-led party with a multiracial outlook, Gerakan today does not have a single seat in the federal Parliament, or in any of the 13 state legislatures.
Mr Lau said the party is open to anyone who agrees with its political ideology and struggles for the benefit of the people in order to make the country better.
Meanwhile, a close ally of Mr Azmin laughed off talk that the minister would leave PKR.
"Rumours will remain rumours,"said PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin.
"He was elected by party members and cannot be kicked out just like that," she told reporters in Ipoh, as quoted by The Star.
She was asked to comment on speculation of a plot to kick Mr Azmin out of PKR.
"It's not easy even if there is a plot to do so," she said.
PKR has 50 MPs, the largest number of federal lawmakers in the ruling Pakatan Harapan alliance that governs Malaysia.