Friday, May 31, 2013

Is This the End for Azmin Ali?

The Selangor executive council lineup has been chosen by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, and its PKR contingent is composed of three women.
PKR deputy president, Selangor PKR chief and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali is neither a woman nor on the list.

Amidst all of the change and upheaval of GE13, it may yet include another twist: the beginning of the end of Azmin Ali's career in Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

It bears repeating that Azmin was one of the original founders of the party in the wake of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's battles with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his rapid, involuntary departure from Umno. He faced jail time for lying under oath in defence of Anwar (he was subsequently acquitted) and until May 5, he was known as Anwar's chief lieutenant.

It was a role that even saw him charged for starting the Bersih 3.0 riots after he and Anwar were caught hand-signalling to the protesters who charged the police barricades.

He has been Anwar's faithful aide and protector for decades, even sacrificing his credibility to protect Anwar's reputation during the ridiculous September 16, 2008 debacle. Yet today, he has not even been returned to the Selangor exco, let alone taken over the role of Menteri Besar he has clearly coveted since GE12.

The in-fighting that consumed Selangor PKR – and by extension, the national party – has been on-going since well before the infamous party elections in 2010, which saw allegations of vote-rigging, vote-buying, cheating, violence and intimidation. It very nearly boiled over in the lead-up to GE13, when Anwar was unable to quell the battles involving his long-time lieutenant, Khalid, and even Anwar's wife and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

In the aftermath of GE13, when it became clear that Khalid would return as MB, Azmin sat out Anwar's first Black 505 rally. He went public, airing his grievances over the lack of "consensus" in PKR and the "nepotism", two traits of which Azmin surely must have been aware for the last decade and more.

In the aftermath, PKR grassroots – doubtless with party leadership backing – began taking shots at Azmin in Opposition-friendly web portals.
Defiantly, Azmin then gave a speech at the party's recent congress, calling for bipartisan co-operation with BN.

It has now been reported by The Star that even Azmin's faction in PKR has begun deserting him. And Anwar is nowhere to be seen. According to that same report, Anwar dares not save the man who has done so much for him.

Azmin's path forward is murky. It is now reasonably clear that unless he is able to secure his position at the upcoming party elections (formerly scheduled for November, now re-scheduled until the party can decide the election results ahead of time), he has no future in PKR.

Yet PAS would not want him and the DAP is as much a family affair as PKR has ever been. That leaves either becoming a permanent non-force in PKR, retiring or – perish the thought – re-joining Umno.

Hard choices are coming to Azmin Ali.

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