PETALING JAYA: Six PKR state chiefs have expressed support for party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim amid a widening rift in the party following the sex video issue implicating his deputy Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
Six PKR state chiefs – representing Perlis, Kedah, Melaka, Terengganu, Federal Territories and Kelantan – signed a statement stating that they fully supported Anwar.
"We stand firmly behind him in facing any challenge against any efforts by those who want to weaken our party.
"We give full and undivided commitment to him (Anwar) in his efforts to lead the country to a level that the rakyat want," said Kedah PKR chief Datuk Johari Abdul in a media conference at party headquarters here Friday (July 19).
The media conference was held after a meeting to form a council of PKR state chairmen.
The meeting agreed for Johari to lead the council, and copies of the statement bearing the signatures of the six state PKR chiefs were distributed during the media conference.
Asked about the state chiefs who have yet to sign the statement – namely those from Selangor, Pahang, Perak, Penang, Johor, Negri Sembilan, Sarawak and Sabah – Johari said he was confident that the eight more state chiefs would sign the statement by Friday night when they attend a party retreat at Port Dickson.
Asked if the council also supported Azmin as PKR deputy president, Johari said it would be too tedious for the council to list out each and every single PKR leader it supports.
They said they instead chose to express support for Anwar as he is the top PKR leader.
Johari also deflected questions about the rift in PKR, saying that the council's focus was on developing the states.
He said states are having problems ensuring that all the party's election promises were delivered, and called on PKR's ministers and deputy ministers to help ensure that states were not left out in terms of development.
Anwar on Thursday (July 18) downplayed a public tiff between him and his deputy Azmin, while dismissing the latter as a threat concerning the prime minister's post.
Responding to a statement on Thursday by his PKR central committee members and MPs telling him off for calling on Azmin to resign if it was proven that we was one of the men in a viral sex video, Anwar said it had all been a misunderstanding.
The statement by the PKR leaders was signed by 28 people from the party's central committee members and a number of MPs.
The leaders said Anwar's statement was "inappropriate" but was also based on "speculative assertions".
"We reiterate that the party must stand firm against the kind of gutter politics used against Azmin. We will stand with Azmin and any other leaders who are attacked using such unethical methods," it said.
Among those who signed the statement were party vice-presidents Zuraida Kamaruddin, Tian Chua, Ali Biju and Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
Also seen in the signatories were Wanita chief Haniza Talha and her deputy Dr Daroyah Alwi.
The MPs who signed were Tebrau MP Steven Choong, Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin, Puncak Borneo MP Willy Mongin, and Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah.