Face-off for Azmin Ali and Khalid Ibrahim
for Party No.2 Post
Pic from Astro Awani
By YL Chong, Desiderata
IT IS "HIGH NOON" for incumbent PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and his chief nemesis, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim come the party elections next month. The May polls will see party members nationwide exercise their one-person-one-vote to decide the political fate of two key leaders. In my opinion, Azmin, Gombak member of Parliament and State Assemblyman for Bukit Anatarabangsa, has everything to lose in this crossroads face-off while challenger Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid once and for all, chose to end the "destabilising" force on his chiefministership of the past six years.
There are four other nominees for the number 2 post, but the two "viable" candidates -- party Secretary-General Saifuddin Nasution and Vice-President Tian Chua -- are aligned to Khalid, and there is talk on the party grapevine these two are likely to wihdraw before April 10 to enable what might be a referendum on where it's Khalid or Azmin who should be sacrificed in the long-term interest of the party.
Khalid declared his candidacy some two weeks before party nominations closed on March , while rumours abounded that Azmin would go for the party president'c post. The ambitions of Azmin were checkmated when the strategist in de facto chief Anwar Ibrahim chose to be nioominated to contest the president against the incmubent -- wife-cum-incumbent Wan Azizah, newly elected Kajang assemblywoman when husband Anwar was used by the Court of Appeal to stop Anwar's nomination following the conviction rushed through in indecent haste four days before Kajang by-election nomination day.
Again the strategist in Anwar will see him or his wife withdrawing from the nomination before April 10, so the focus will be on the UMNO chieftains to make their next move. I use "chieftain" with an ass because UMNO president Najib Tun Razak is one indecisive politician who would consult his cronies or wife whether to use the authorities (judiciary again the scapegoat?) to declare Anwar ineligible to hold any political office?
Be that as it may, Azmin's days seem to be numbered, for an Khalid is one who has "financial" power to match Azmin in a do-or-die battle that will mark one's Waterloo.
I read somewhat amused the report in NST toiday headed "Move to oust Azmin as PKR deputy president?" The "amusement" is because for once the UMNO-controlled daily got the inside picture of PKR quite "right", a memorable event in MSM achievement! In fact, I wish to add that this writer heard from a Seremban party member that some three weeks ago a movement was already active in Negeri Semban to endorse Khalid in this face-ff with Azmin. There is just common utter disgust against Azmin for his ceaseless attempts to destalise Khalid's leadership and admininstration of the richest state in the country -- remember the tussle for the MB post and the PKNS fiaisco? And now party members aren't going to allow an overly-ambituous Azmin to return Selangor to the UMNO fold. Thanks to Khalid's prudent leadership, the Selangor government could acheive a surplus budget for consecutive years -- a record that the UMNO rulers failed to do so after some 50 years because they were too busy helping themselves instead of the Rakyat.
Non PKR party members whose views I have canvassed are mostly sympathetic to Khalid. Some even opined that should Azmin lose this battle, he might doanother "Et tu, brute!" act. Well, my take is that Anwar has had too many daggers stabbed into his back -- recall Ezam Mohd Noor, S Nallakarupan, Zahid Ibrahim, ad nauseum! -- so what's another one more for the long road to Putrajaya? Personally, (hey, I have one vore!) between Khalid and Azmin, I would opt for Khalid any time as Azmin's ways, ala-UMNO, would take Selangor back to deficit budgets in triple quick time.
I know Tian Chua pretty well -- from the early days of Reformasi 15 years ago when I served as an online news editor. I recall with excitement and raised blood pressure the heady days of street demonstrations, the birth of Parti Keadilan Negara, the precusor to PKR where Tian Chua was among the founding members along with the incidental poltician, Kak Wan. A full-time politician -- and bachelor to boot! -- Tian would always sacrifice himself in the larger interest s of the party, so he would settle to defend one of the five vice-presidencies. Just an aside, I note the Kajang ex-assemblyman, lawyer Lee Chin Cheh who resigned the seat to enable the Kajang Move, is a surprise VP nominee; he would just be lucky to "scrape in" to be a new VP, assuming if he had the blessings of the party's top leaders entering the ring. (A reward for making a personal sacrifice I believe is justified.)
Tian has intimated his willingness to talk to the other deputy president nominees for an amicable contest. In passing, he allowed that he might withdraw, noting that he had always garnered the highest number of votes for the VP contests, however crowded the field is. So winning the third-ranked party position should be a given for this youthful reformist leader whom the party can ill-afford to lose him at this significant phase of Reformasi 2 plus the Pakatan Rakyat's march towards Putrajaya, Tian has tremendous pull for the youth, mainly the Chinese educated, but across the ethnic divide among the Non-Government Organisation activists. The significance of Khalid's and Tian's roles under Kak Wan is enhanced with the looming prospect that the tripartite coalition chief may yet land up behind the walls of Sungai Buloh for another five years.