Anwar sidesteps poser on Rafizi’s return

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Anwar Ibrahim sidestepped a question regarding the possible return of former lawmaker Rafizi Ramli to active politics but promised to address the issue at a later date.

The PKR president, when met at Universiti Selangor (Unisel) in Shah Alam this morning, said he wanted to focus on the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim) former president Siddiq Fadzil’s book.

“I will only discuss this issue (the book launch today), otherwise it will deflect to other issues,” he told reporters during the opening of the Siddiq Fadzil Leadership and Ideas Institute.

Anwar was asked to respond to calls urging Rafizi (above), who is PKR vice-president, to return to active politics and contest for a leadership position in the party polls.

The former Pandan MP withdrew from politics in 2019 following Pakatan Harapan’s historic win in the national polls and his failure to unseat the then PKR number two Azmin Ali.

Rafizi’s critical views regarding former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s decisions had also drawn flak from various quarters, including Harapan supporters.

However, the Harapan dream came crashing just after 22 months in power and most Harapan supporters have since assigned the lion’s share of the blame to Mahathir.

Prior to his withdrawal from active politics, Rafizi was seen as an influential figure in PKR and regarded as one of Anwar’s closest advisers.

He was also well-known for exposing several scandals related to the previous BN government, which landed him in court.

Commenting on his possible return to politics, Rafizi told Malaysiakini that he must ensure such a move would be worth it.

He remarked that PKR and his allies might not be receptive to his “radical” approach and ideas.

“I haven’t decided, but I do pay attention to the public and the party who make pleas for me to reconsider. I will consider and consult my stakeholders, including God,” he added.

Mixed feelings among PKR peers

Meanwhile, Anwar’s former aide Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak described Rafizi’s return as a “sensitive” matter.

“He is still a member, so I welcome (his return to politics), but that does not mean I like him,” Farharsh told Free Malaysia Today (FMT).

Whereas Selangor PKR deputy communications director Zainol Abidin Mohamed felt that Rafizi left the party during its time of need when the Harapan government was formed.

Rafizi did not contest in the 14th general election (GE14) in 2018 after the Shah Alam Sessions Court imposed a 30-month jail sentence on him for leaking confidential banking details belonging to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) in March 2012.

After GE14, Rafizi failed to unseat Azmin in the PKR polls in the same year. He was later appointed as a vice-president but remained low-profile.

Azmin, on the other hand, subsequently defected from PKR with lawmakers aligned to him, which contributed to the fall of the Harapan government.

Although Rafizi occasionally comments on current events and politics on his Twitter account, he stresses that these are the opinions of a private citizen. – Malaysiakini