Academics: Azmin likely to replace Anwar as Opposition chief

Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali - file pix

Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali - file pix

KLANG: Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali would probably be replacing PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Opposition chief in Parliament, according to academics. 

National Council of Professors’ political cluster head Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak said going by his position as the PKR deputy president, it is very likely that Azmin, who is also Gombak MP, will be replacing his mentor Anwar. 

“The Pakatan Rakyat leaders will need to sit together and discuss as to whom they want as the Opposition chief in Parliament, and given the tension between the DAP and PAS, it looks like PKR’s Azmin will be the ultimate choice,’’ said Dr Mohamed Mustafa when contacted on Tuesday. 

Universiti Sains Malaysia Assoc Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian concurred, and said being a mentri besar would also play a role in helping Azmin clinching the position. 

He added that both DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who have experienced being the Opposition chiefs in Parliament, may vie for the position. 

“However, due to the current tension between PAS and DAP, the decision would be to appoint someone from PKR to diffuse the situation, and that someone would probably be Azmin,’’ added Dr Sivamurugan. 

Dr Mohamed Mustafa also said that someone close to Anwar may be selected to contest for his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat. 

Anwar lost the seat due to his conviction and jail sentence, and a by-election is expected to be held soon at the constituency. 

According to Dr Mohamed Mustafa, Pakatan will have to use the Anwar issue to gain public sympathy and due to this, it would be someone from his family that will likely contest in Permatang Pauh. 

He added that Anwar’s wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is PKR president and Kajang assemblyman, may not be contesting for the seat.

“Anwar has six children and apart from Nurul Izzah, who is already an MP, there are five others who are eligible to contest for their father’s vacated seat,’’ he said. 

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah is Anwar’s and Dr Wan Azizah’s eldest child and their other children are Nurul Nuha, Mohd Ehsan, Nurul Ilham, Nurul Iman and Nurul Hana. 

Dr Mohamed Mustafa said there was a high chance that Anwar’s second child Nurul Nuha would be contesting in Permatang Pauh.