KUALA LUMPUR: Hours after the PKR national congress concluded in Melaka, party deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was in a hotel in the capital here addressing another gathering of party members.
Azmin, who did not attend the final day of the national congress, gave a fiery speech when he got up to the podium at the "Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030" dinner on Sunday (Dec 8).
He said that in 1999, he was in the same venue here together with prominent PKR leaders like vice-presidents Tian Chua, Zuraida Kamaruddin and R. Sivarasa.
"It is ironic that after 20 years of struggling for the party, I am now branded a traitor," said Azmin.
"I was also jailed. I was stripped naked, stepped upon, and insulted because of the struggle of this PKR that I so loved," he said.
Azmin said he was ashamed with the quality of delegates chosen to speak at the PKR national congress.
He added that debates should have been allowed and not blocked just because a certain individual could not take criticism.
"If they want to debate, then they can debate, but (if you're) afraid and cannot be criticised, kepala otak kau (a colloquial expression to mean 'don't be foolish')," he said.
Azmin said that PKR was not built by one person or one family.
He said this party was built by Malaysians from Perlis to Johor.
There has been rising factionalism within PKR in recent weeks, with some aligned to Azmin or party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
In a joint statement with several PKR central committee members earlier, Azmin claimed that Anwar's speech at the congress on Saturday (Dec 7), which began with a story of Si Kitol and Raja Mendeliar, had prompted delegates to launch personal attacks on him at the congress.
According to the Malay Annals, Si Kitol and Raja Mendeliar were the traitors who caused the downfall of the Melaka Sultanate to the Portugese in 1511.
On Friday (Dec 6), two individuals were injured and another two arrested following a brawl at the PKR Youth and Women's wing congress, which started with a commotion and later escalated into scuffles involving about 50 individuals.