As PKR congress ends, Anwar seen firmly holding party’s reins

Kenneth Tee And Radzi Razak
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim addresses the 2019 PKR National Congress at MITC in Ayeh Keroh, Melaka December 8, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

AYER KEROH, Dec 8 — The closing of the PKR national congress today saw Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim finally in full control of the 20-year-old party in which he was elected president for the first time last year.

With estranged deputy Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and his faction notably absent following their walkout yesterday, Anwar adopted a conciliatory tone for his closing speech instead of the veiled needling that characterised the event yesterday.

The PKR president couched his olive branch in terms that would allow any returning dissenter the chance to portray their concession as done in the interest of Malaysians.

“If my fellow party counterparts are disinterested in such issues, then choose a different party.

“But if you are still sincere in fighting for the rakyat, then it’s okay if we have a difference in opinion, it’s okay if we criticise the president, as long as there is a record of honest field work being done,” he said in his winding up speech at the Melaka International Trade Centre here.

He said leaders must be able to read and understand the delegates’ concerns and to respond with wisdom and integrity, and not merely for political expediency.

Anwar said the events from the PKR congress showed there was undeniable support for his team and him to continue leading the party.

PKR must also return to its core ideals of reform, which Anwar said was of far greater value than any position in the government including the post of the prime minister.

Anwar also said the takeaway from the congress was clear: that the party desired to unite under his leadership.

He acknowledged that some in the party were aligned with Azmin but said delegates have shown during the congress that they were losing patience with the continued attempts to undermine Anwar’s leadership.

Anwar suggested that this was why some delegates had targeted Azmin’s factions in their speeches despite his express instructions for them not to attack their rivals.

“What you heard from the delegates this time is the anger they felt. I may have divine patience but not all are so,” he said.

On his of the “Si Kitol” historical figure synonymous with betrayal in his policy speech, Anwar claimed today that it was not his intention to offend any.

Instead, he said he was simply seeking to remind the party about the dangers of internal saboteurs.

According to The Malay Annals, Si Kitol and Raja Mendeliar were treacherous, divisive individuals in 16th century Melaka, whose actions left Melaka vulnerable to Portuguese invaders and eventually led to the collapse of the Melaka Sultanate.

“What is the lesson here? The lesson tells us the dangers of blind accusations and treason to the nation told in the context of Melaka’s history,” he said.

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