A storm in a tea cup?

Lucy Sebli

In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States of America

Sarawak PKR’s leader Baru Bian had led a group of Sarawak top PKR’s leaders to cancel the state convention over the decision to revoke Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s invitation to officiate the PKR Youth Convention, scheduled to place on December 6.

Despite being PKR Sarawak chairman, the PKR top leaderships in Putrajaya said that the state PKR convention in Miri (November 23) will go on as scheduled. Baru Bian insisted that his decision to cancel the convention was supported by 32 out of 42 Majlis Pimpinan Negeri (MPN).

He also perceived the decision to continue the state convention as a move to remove him as the chairman of Sarawak PKR. It looks like the spat between Azmin and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has spread to Sarawak as well.

On a similar note, last Thursday, the same issue also caused a stir when Muhammad Hilman Idham, the party secretary, ignored the PKR Youth chief’s appeal to replace Azmin with PKR former president to officiate at the PKR National Youth and Women’s Congress in Melaka.

This further intensifies the rivalry between Azmin and Anwar which synonymously divided the party into two camps, Azmin’ camp on one side and Anwar’s on the other. The split is becoming more visible. The crack within PKR also affects the strength of PH as a coalition as a whole. 

PKR is once again finding itself in a pickle, politically speaking. They have lost big time in the Tanjung Pia by-election. BN, especially MCA, has managed to win big and is in a celebratory mood. After all, the win helps to re-enforce their previous notion (or in this case, a delusion) that BN is still popular.

They went further by suggesting that PH’s loss was a sign of what the future may hold for PH and attributed its loss to the party’s failure to fulfil its campaign manifestoes. Well, it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Who are we kidding folks?

A couple of days later, a picture of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad meeting the King emerged in social media which led to various speculations that he is going to reshuffle his Cabinet.

But the story did not stop there. Another speculation emerged when 16 BN Members of Parliament went to see Azmin at his private residence, under the disguise of having dinner. Those who were allegedly present were Umno top guns including ex-deputy president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein who was accompanied by other 20 BN MPs.

Umno secretary-general, Annuar Musa denied the rumour and insisted that the 16 MPs who met Azmin in ‘secret’ are still loyal to Umno and brushed off Dr Mahathir’s revelation that they had lost faith in Umno and contemplating to join other parties. The prime minister further claimed that these MPs also had expressed their support for him.

Almost immediately, the seven senior members of Umno, who attended the meeting, vehemently refuted Dr Mahathir’s revelation and argued that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the development plan for their respective constituencies.

They lamented that it was the other way around; they are inviting Azmin to join Umno. 

Not wanting to be upstaged, Anwar Ibrahim took to Twitter and accused Azmin of attempting to use that meeting to gain some political favour from his boss, Dr Mahathir. There might be some truth to Anwar’s allegation because Dr Mahathir during a press conference alluded that Azmin has confided in him about what transpired during the meeting.

Azmin, when asked by reporters about the meeting, dodged the question as usual without giving anything away. Trouble seemed to be following Azmin everywhere he went or in this case, didn’t go.

This time, he failed to show up for PKR’s bureau meeting two days later. It was argued that Azmin has missed almost all of the party’s meetings in the past. Whatever Azmin is planning, it all seems to backfire for now which has further weakened his precarious position within the party.

The rivalry between Azmin and Anwar has intensified and the only one who seems to enjoy the storm is the PKR’s main rival — Bersatu.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.