Anwar: No plans to sack Azmin, people must be allowed to vent (updated)

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 08 Dec 2019

MELAKA: There are no plans to dismiss Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali as PKR deputy president, and people must be given space for their voices to be heard, says party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

According to Anwar, calls to sack Azmin were raised by several delegates, which the party's leadership did not agree to.

"I have no problems negotiating, but the sentiment of the party is for unity and will not tolerate those who are undisciplined," he told reporters during a press conference after the closing ceremony of the PKR National Congress at the Melaka International Trade Centre here on Sunday (Dec 8).

Asked if he would forgive Azmin, Anwar merely replied "I'm a forgiving person".

"But this is not a personal issue. I have to listen to the voices and the sentiments (of delegates). I listened to their intentions so we have to give them some space."

Azmin, along with other leaders aligned to his action such as Zuraida Kamaruddin, Sivarasa Rasiah, Amirudin Shari and Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon were absent from the congress.

Only PKR vice-president Tian Chua attended, who was jeered by delegates after delivering a speech that was pro-Azmin.

Despite the commotion, brawls and walkouts which took place at the four-day congress, Anwar said that the door to conciliation between him and Azmin remains open.

"May I quote John F. Kennedy? We should never fear to negotiate and we should never negotiate out of fear. The conciliation must be an open process."

Meanwhile, Anwar said that more than 80% of delegates were present during the congress.

"That is big for me," he added.

Anwar acknowledged that Azmin had asked him during a private meeting to ensure that no delegates would use the congress to attack one another.

"But if the delegates say they want leaders to observe discipline and honour their pledges, how do you control that?

"I merely wanted the delegates to avoid casting aspersions or personal attacks, which the 90% avoided, except when they walked out, we lost control of that.

"But before that, the people maintained decorum in their speeches. You can't expect a democratic party to be just a mouthpiece of their leaders," he said.

Anwar also said he had no intention to offend anyone when he brought up the Si Kitol and Raja Mendeliar story at the congress on Saturday.

He said merely referred to the story in a historical context as it spoke about the downfall of the Melaka sultanate.

"The great Melaka fell due to jealousy and envy ... It's a reminder to us.

"If you are offended in this reminder, it's better to feel offended to bring about change," he said during his closing remarks at the congress.

According to the Malay Annals, Si Kitol and Raja Mendeliar were traitors who caused the downfall of the Melaka sultanate to the Portuguese in 1511.

Meanwhile, Anwar acknowledged that emotions ran high among delegates during the congress, but said such emotions should be expressed in a familial spirit.

"Don't make it turn into something that destroys us," he said.

Anwar said that its leaders must proactively champion issues concerning the people, education, infrastructure, housing and safety.

"If you are not interested in such issues, choose another party, If we are still determined to fight for the people, then it's okay to have differing opinions.

"It's also okay to criticise the president if you have a track record," added Anwar.

The four-day congress, which concluded on Sunday (Dec 8), was marred by incidents of commotions, brawls and walkouts.

A brawl last Friday (Dec 6) at the party's Youth and Women's wing congress saw two injured and another two arrested.

The congress also saw a walkout of a 100 people who claimed that delegates' speeches were mostly critical of Azmin.

Azmin and several others held a joint press conference after the walkout, where he slammed Anwar for triggering personal attacks by delegates after he spoke about Si Kitol and Raja Mendeliar.

Anwar claimed that he was invited to a dinner at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur with PKR leaders aligned to Azmin.

"He (Azmin) invited me two days ago. I told him I have functions every Sunday night in my house," he said, adding he would not able to make it.

Azmin's loyalists such as Zuraida, Tian Chua, and several other leaders are expected to attend a "shared prosperity vision dinner" on Sunday night.

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