Anwar mediated PKR candidates list

Anwarnomics promises to do away with state-backed racism. It promises to be inclusive, rules-based and competition-oriented with a large, well-funded social safety net.

PETALING JAYA: The empty seat separating Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and the sullen look on their faces was one of those pictures which spoke a thousand words.

It happened at a PKR event in Seberang Jaya, Penang, and it had quickly gone viral.

The optics pretty much summed up the intense tussle over seats that had gone on between the two camps in PKR the last few days - one camp is led by Azmin and the other by Dr Wan Azizah and her chief ally Rafizi Ramli.

The tension between PKR's top two carried onto the big rally that Pakatan Harapan held in Sungai Besar on Monday (April 23) night.

The rally came at the end of a day of high level politics in PKR that saw Azmin meeting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in a Selangor hospital where he had been admitted for observation.

The first meeting took place at around 1pm during which Azmin is believed to have discussed the candidates list with Anwar.

Malaysia's most special prisoner still calls the shots from behind bars.

It is understood that the meeting was inconclusive. Anwar wanted to study the list and Azmin left for an event in Kuala Selangor.

He returned again to the hospital at about 5pm to continue the discussion with Anwar and it is learnt that the second meeting did not go well and was quite tense.

Blood is thicker than water and Anwar is believed to have leaned towards the side of his wife on the issue of the candidates list.

Although the Selangor Mentri Besar did not completely get what he wanted, a number of names on his preferred list were reinstated.

The main casualty on the Azmin list appeared to be the incumbent for Rawang Gan Pei Nie who had broken down in tears at a press conference on Monday afternoon to explain her dilemma.

Gan, who is a protege of vice-president Tian Chua, was dropped while top Azmin aide Khalid Jaafar's candidature was rejected. Azmin wanted Khalid, who works in his Mentri Besar office, to stand in Hulu Selangor.

Another Azmin ally, Mohd Razlan Jalaluddin, the coordinator for Kota Damansara, was also rejected as a candidate.

But most of Amin's candidates went through.

The tensions over the candidates list means that the PKR president and her deputy will be going into the general election at war with each other.

They are barely speaking and seem unable to even pretend to be cordial with each other.

Many in PKR were on edge during the Pakatan rally on Monday night.

Dr Wan Azizah had not indicated to any of them whether she was going to announce the candidates list.

The leaders, including Azmin, was unsure whether Dr Wan Azizah would keep to the list of names hammered out between him and Anwar earlier in the day.

She kept everyone hanging on until the end of her speech when she "sought the consent" of Azmin to read out the list.

It was quite a sleigh of hand on her part.

She may be seen as a weak president but she still wields the powers of a president and she is the one who signs the watikah of the candidates.

Fighting to dominate seats in a general election happens in every party but this one had a personal edge to it, given the long-running rivalry between the Azmin and Rafizi camps.

Rafizi is not eligible to contest the general election but he is trying to put in place people who are aligned to him and PKR's first family.

Rafizi sees himself as the one who can manage the party on her behalf. More important, he thinks he can take on Azmin.

What happened in the last few days was being done with an eye on the party election that is due to take place later this year.

The Dr Wan Azizah-Rafizi camp wants their people as YBs so that their camp will have the upper hand in the party polls.

The candidates list is finally signed and sealed and the internal strife is not expected to have much effect on their supporters in Selangor.

But it will be a challenging road ahead for Azmin.

There will be a fresh round of intense infighting over the Mentri Besar post if PKR does well and Pakatan retains the state.



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