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Thursday, February 27, 2014

THE POST-KAJANG STORM

mt2014-corridors-of-power
Azmin’s people say that Azmin has set aside a war chest of RM30 million to defend his post against Khalid or Nurul, whichever the case may be. Khalid can easily match Azmin’s RM30 million dollar-for-dollar but Nurul would be hard-pressed to do the same. Hence Nurul would need to depend on the power of her charms rather than the power of her purse.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Azmin out of spotlight
(The Malay Mail) – Azmin Ali has not been in the limelight for the past two weeks and his absence is becoming the talk of the town as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim races around Kajang, canvassing for every single vote he can find.
Azmin — party deputy chief and also Selangor party chief — was expected to play a vital role in the campaign for the upcoming by-election but it has not been the case as Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has been picked to be director of operations.
Azmin seems to have been sidelined or rather kept away from the campaign as Anwar whizzes around with other party leaders in meet-the-people sessions and events.
It was rumoured last week that Azmin would sue party organ Suara Keadilan over columnist Hishamuddin Rais’s comments that Azmin possessed the Umno mentality of “ketuanan Melayu”.
Since then, he has been silent as the party leaders pitch tents in Kajang and accompany Anwar to push his agenda.
The continuing silence has bred more rumours that Azmin’s position as the number two man in the party may be under threat in the party polls scheduled for end of April.
Already, the word is Khalid may contest against him, and that even Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah may join the race.
Khalid — who is under pressure to keep his job at any cost given that his own boss in the party is eyeing the position — is said to be standing his ground and is ready to go head-to-head with Azmin.
Sources close to Khalid said Azmin had been moving against Khalid for several years, but up to now all attempts had failed.
“It is a long story and Khalid has been on the defensive all this while, trying to keep things from becoming public but the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) matter exploded and the whole feud became public,” said one source.
Anwar, who said he is contesting the Kajang seat to end the feud between Khalid and Azmin, now seems to have another agenda — to dump Azmin.
Accompanying him in Kajang most of the time is party director of strategy Rafizi Ramli who party members claim is Anwar’s new blue-eyed boy.
In short, Azmin’s days are numbered, if the current scenario is to be the yardstick, and he may see his position taken over by end-April.
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A most interesting analysis by The Malay Mail today and I would agree with most of it. Azmin Ali is certainly merajuking (sulking).
And this is not the first time Azmin is merajuking. He has done this so many times before. The only difference is in the past Anwar Ibrahim would always pujuk (coax) him and Azmin would end hismerajuking. This time, however, Anwar is not pujuking him. Instead, Anwar is focusing on his new blue-eyed boy, Rafizi Ramli.
Azmin overestimated Anwar’s love for him. When he openly threatened to challenge Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the party presidency, unless Anwar himself goes for that post, Azmin thought he could strike a deal. Azmin said he would back off from going for number one if Anwar could guarantee him that no one would challenge him (Azmin) for number two.
Anwar told Azmin he could not issue such a guarantee. And this infuriated Azmin who felt that Anwar was preparing to dump him in favour of Khalid Ibrahim. Azmin suspected that Anwar had made a deal with Khalid. And the deal is Khalid would resign as Menteri Besar in favour of Anwar and he (Anwar) would back him (Khalid) for number two.
And this would mean Azmin would need to be sacrificed in this whole arrangement. Anwar for Menteri Besar and party president and Khalid compensated with the deputy presidency of the party.
I suppose if Khalid has no choice but to hand over the job of Menteri Besar to Anwar then the deputy presidency of the party would be a good enough compensation. On his own, Khalid may face difficulties if he took on Azmin. But with Anwar’s backing he would have a better chance.
But things have changed a bit since then. When this whole thing was mooted Anwar had assumed he could just walk in to the office of Menteri Besar with no obstacles in front of him. But now that has proven to be not so easy after all.
There is one obstacle and that obstacle is the Istana (Palace). The Istana is not in favour of an orang luar(outsider) becoming the Menteri Besar. It wants an anak jati Selangor (Selangor-born). And Anwar is notanak jati Selangor. Furthermore, Anwar is a Mamak and not a Bugis like Khalid, the same clan as His Highness the Sultan. And the Bugis are fiercely clannish just like the Hakka Chinese or Tamil Indians.
If the post of Menteri Besar is off-limits to Anwar then Khalid may have to stay on after all. And this may also mean that Khalid may not go for number two as planned.
So will it be plain sailing for Azmin?
Most likely not! If Khalid does not take on Azmin for number two then Nurul Izzah would most likely do so. And Nurul is now preparing the groundwork to challenge Azmin for the party deputy presidency.
Azmin’s people say that Azmin has set aside a war chest of RM30 million to defend his post against Khalid or Nurul, whichever the case may be. Khalid can easily match Azmin’s RM30 million dollar-for-dollar but Nurul would be hard-pressed to do the same. Hence Nurul would need to depend on the power of her charms rather than the power of her purse.
The problem with this, though, is that in politics money talks while everything else walks. So will Nurul have a chance against Azmin unless she can pour big bucks into her campaign? We will have to see what happens.
The party elections in two months time is going to see PKR take on the Umno culture of money politics. With Azmin’s RM30 million flowing through the system, Nurul may discover that her task is going to be an uphill battle. However, win or lose, this is going to see PKR turn into a replica of the Umno they wish to replace. PKR is going to become a party where money decides what happens.
And with that flies out the window the reform agenda that was set just over 15 years ago in 1998 when the Reformasi movement first exploded onto the Malaysian scene.
RIP Reformasi! And where to from here Puteri Reformasi, Nurul Izzah Anwar?

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