Anwar: Decision to Withdraw Azmin’s Invitation Made by Central Leadership Council

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PKR’s top leadership has overruled its Sarawak chapter’s decision to cancel the party’s state-level convention, as a rift widens over disagreement with the decision to snub Azmin at the party’s Youth Congress next month.

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that there was no threat or involvement of an “eminent’ party leader in the withdrawal of the invitation made to its deputy president, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, to open the party’s Youth Congress.

Instead, he said, the decision was made during a meeting of the party’s Central Leadership Council (MPP).

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

“Any change (in decision) is not a threat from any leader but must be made through a meeting. This decision was made by the political bureau and during an open meeting of the MPP, it is not a decision by the secretary-general as claimed,” Anwar told a media conference yesterday.

He said the decision to cancel the invitation for Azmin to open the party’s youth wing congress stays despite calls by certain leaders to reverse it.

He also said most of the part divisional leaders still want the convention to proceed with only a few leaders in Sarawak against it.

Anwar was commenting on the decision by Sarawak PKR leaders not to hold the state PKR convention which was scheduled to be held on Nov 23 to protest against the perceived snub of Azmin.

The Sarawak PKR leadership, led by its chairman Baru Bian, said the hasty decision to cancel Azmin’s invitation is a clear attempt to throttle democracy in PKR.

Earlier, Anwar hit out at party leaders whom he said had forgotten the party’s struggle after they came to power.

“We should not forget the rakyat after we become ministers as the party was created to help the rakyat,” he said.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

Without naming names, he lambasted those who want to oust him as the party president.

“If (anyone) wants to oust me, wait for the party elections. As of now, I am the president,” he said.

He added that the selection for him to be the eighth Prime Minister was a consensus reached by Pakatan Harapan and not because he wanted it.

He said the decision was made on Jan 7 last year when he was still in prison.

“To be the eighth Prime Minister is not my (own) suggestion. It can be changed…bring the motion to the PH congress. For as long as I’m given the responsibility as the party president, I will do my utmost best to strengthen the party. When it comes to my turn to become Prime Minister, I will administer my best,” he added.

Meanwhile, PKR’s Miri MP Michael Teo Yu Keng said the Sarawak PKR convention in Miri on Nov 23 will go.

Teo told a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya that he had received the blessing of Anwar and PKR state conventions director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad to proceed with the plan.

He said the decision was made as it would be unfair to state PKR members who had made arrangements to attend the event if it was called off now following Baru Bian’s directive.

“We understand that some members have already made arrangements such as transportation, including buying tickets and booking their accommodations.

“A last-minute cancellation of the event would not only be unfair to the members but would also give a bad impression to the party. For me, this move is very unprofessional on the MPN’s (state leadership) part.

“We have decided to proceed the programme on Nov 23 at Pullman Hotel Miri with the blessing of Nik Nazmi and party president Anwar Ibrahim,” Teo said, reading from a pre-prepared press statement.

Also at the press conference was PKR member and Sarawak Pro-Keadilan chairperson Iswardy Morni, who claimed that many party members and division leaders have agreed to attend the convention despite Baru’s call for cancellation.

He added that it was within the PKR central leadership’s power to decide on the convention and that the state was only acting as the organiser.

“We already have Sarawak division leaders agreeing to attend, including the chiefs of Limbang, Sibuti, Selangau, Hulu Rajang, Baram and Igan divisions.

Hariz Mohd/Malaysiakini

“Besides the division chiefs and their members, there are members from other divisions such as Petra Jaya and Betong who said they would be at the convention,” said Iswardy.

The press conference was held in response to Baru’s media statement earlier, in which he gave an ultimatum to the PKR central leadership in relation to Azmin’s invitation to officiate the Youth national congress being rescinded.

In a separate statement, Nik Nazmi chided the state PKR leadership’s decision, saying that they would not have planned to cancel the convention if they truly believed in PKR’s democratic values.

“In relation to the Sarawak PKR Convention, we have had lengthy discussions with the state leaders since last September, with the last talks being held yesterday.

“If Sarawak MPN truly believes in the spirit of democracy in PKR, they would not have simply wished to cancel the convention, which had been discussed and decided together.

“Thus, the convention would go on at the Miri Pullman Hotel on the planned date and time,” he said.

Related report: Nov 14, PKR Youth Raps Azmin over Hidden Hands Allegation