KUALA LUMPUR― Accused of having sold out to political foe Umno, PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli instead disclosed today the depth of infighting among party leaders within its political bureau.

The Pandan MP confessed to skipping his party’s political bureau meetings for the past year, purportedly to differences of opinions with other members within the council, notably Datuk Seri Azmin Ali whom he mentioned only by the latter’s position as party deputy president.

“I have made a decision not to attend the political bureau meetings since August 2016 after it was clear differing opinions in the political bureau will prolong and blunt the party’s preparations in the run-up to GE14,” he said in an emailed statement, the last referring to the 14th general elections due by next August.

Rafizi also spilt the beans on the level of disagreements within the PKR political bureau, saying it was difficult to reach a consensus due to differing opinions after its de facto leader Anwar was jailed.

“Even if there was an agreement within the political bureau, if someone did not like it, the decision would not be respected and would in fact be raised in the next political bureau meeting until it was reversed (as happened with the decision for the party representatives’ resignations in the Kelantan government).

“As such, political bureau meetings became a place for prolonged political polemics without effective actions.”

He added that the situation continued to escalate over discussions on the “sensitive issue of co-operation with PAS because it involved the Selangor government”.  Azmin is also Selangor mentri besar.

Rafizi claimed that any suggested that was detrimental to PAS would be rejected at PKR political bureau meetings because “the deputy president’s view is to continue keeping the door open to PAS until the last minute to ensure victory in Selangor”.

The Pandan MP indicated he was fed-up of this protracted stalemate within his party’s discussions and spoke with Anwar and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to be allowed to focus on helping the party and the Pakatan Harapan Opposition bloc improve their electoral chances through his research outfit, Invoke even as Azmin would continue efforts to negotiate with PAS for one-on-one fights against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).

Rafizi then sought to claim the moral higher ground by saying “forgiving” his internal party critics, naming among them lawyer Latheefa Koya who he said has “emotional” political views.

Latheefa had posted vague statements on her Facebook page yesterday alluding to an unnamed PKR member as being an “cancer” within the party in cahoots with the “Ponogoro gang” ― an allusion to Umno vice-president and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi ― to vex the Opposition’s electoral efforts.

In response, Rafizi assured his critics that he was not a threat to their political positions and has not turned traitor to Umno or the BN, as they were the common enemy.

“I can confirm that I have never met any minister or senior member of Umno/Barisan Nasional all my life except in Parliament. I only met Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi once in court in 2012 to resolve his lawsuit against me. I declare my assets annually and I am confident the people know I do not have any suspect riches from bribery.

“I know many feel I threaten their political position. In reality, I have been sentenced to jail and very likely will be barred from active politics for more than seven years. I am unsure if I will remain in politics after I serve my sentence (if I lose my appeal) because I can’t read the future. As such, I should not be seen as a political threat to my colleagues; I’m only someone used to speaking out when I have differing views,” he said.