PORT DICKSON: Several top PKR leaders were conspicuously missing at the opening ceremony of the party's inaugural retreat post-GE14 opened by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a five-star hotel here on Friday (July 19).
Among those not present at the event held in the parliamentary constituency of party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim were his deputy Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and party vice-presidents Zuraida Kamaruddin, Tian Chua and Ali Biju.
This only lends credence to talk of a deepening rift betwen Anwar and Azmin, who had been implicated by a former party member as being one of two men in a sex video.
Dr Mahathir, who is also the Pakatan Harapan chairman, arrived around 8.30pm and was greeted by Anwar and his wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Also present were PKR vice-presidents Dr Xavier Jayakumar, secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and other leaders.
Hotel staff led by Lexis Hotel Group president Mandy Chew Siok Cheng presented him with two cakes and sang him a birthday song.
Dr Mahathir turned 94 on July 10.
The Prime Minister then proceeded to the junior grand ballroom where he will address the party members.
It cannot be immediately established if Azmin and Zuraida, who have sessions with members at the three-day retreat, will turn up on Saturday (July 20).
Earlier, six PKR state chiefs expressed support for Anwar in his ongoing spat with Azmin.
The six - representing Perlis, Kedah, Melaka, Terengganu, Federal Territories and Kelantan - signed a statement stating that they fully supported Anwar.
Kedah PKR head Datuk Seri Johari Abdul had said the other state chiefs should sign the statement by Friday night at the party retreat.
On Thursday (July 18), Anwar downplayed the war of words between him and his Azmin, saying he may have been misunderstood when he had a day earlier suggested that his deputy should resign if he was conclusively identified as one of the two men in a viral sex video.
Azmin then responded by saying that Anwar should "look at the man in the mirror" before making such a remark.
More than 20 PKR leaders including several central committee members and MPs then jointly rebuked Anwar for his statement saying it was "inappropriate" and based on "speculative assertions".
Anwar then said Azmin probably did not fully comprehend his remarks as reported by the media.