Asia

Azmin camp boycotts Malaysia PKR Congress after speeches by Anwar supporters

MELAKA – Delegates allied to deputy president Azmin Ali have staged a boycott of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Congress on Saturday (Dec 7) after facing attacks in speeches by those loyal to party president Anwar Ibrahim.

They began walking out of the hall at the start of the afternoon session, and gathered outside the hall chanting “leave, go home”. This left the venue more than half empty.

Datuk Seri Anwar himself began his policy speech before over 3,000 delegates and observers, by referring to a historical story of a traitor in Melaka known as “Si Kitol”, although he did not refer to his deputy by name.

However, The Straits Times understands Datuk Seri Azmin’s patience wore thin after a speech by Kedah representative Firdaus Johari – son of pro-Anwar MP Johari Abdul – implied the Economic Affairs Minister was an “escorting minister”.

This is a reference to how Mr Azmin is often appointed to accompany Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad or Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah at events in Malaysia and abroad.

“The truce agreed on Wednesday was that there would be no personal attacks. Azmin honoured this in his opening speech for the youth and women’s wings,” a top lieutenant to the deputy president said.

Mr Azmin also defended Mr Anwar that night against allegations of sexual assault by a former male aide that surfaced earlier this week, calling it “gutter politics”.

The duo had agreed to end weeks of rising hostilities on Wednesday night, just 24 hours before Mr Azmin was due to give his speech which sources said would have triggered a civil war without the truce.

As of Saturday, the faction also plans to skip Sunday’s meeting, where several vice-presidents in the group and Mr Azmin himself were scheduled to respond to the debate on the president’s speech.

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