PETALING JAYA – It appears that even in PKR, the prime ministerial choice is not a settled question despite the repeated assurances from Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he would hand over the post to their top leader.
Intense negotiations are underway between several PKR leaders and state and division heads over the choice of the next prime minister after Mahathir, FMT has learnt.
The party is divided over its top two leaders: Anwar Ibrahim who has been named as Mahathir’s successor under a deal reached between Pakatan Harapan leaders before last year’s elections, and Mohamed Azmin Ali, who was propelled to the powerful federal post of economic affairs minister.
A source told FMT that Azmin still had an upper hand due to his “ability to negotiate”.
“The party knows Azmin’s negotiation skills are the best they have seen,” he told FMT.
The source said Anwar is trying to outmanoeuvre Azmin by appointing state chiefs who may not favour the latter.
“It is true Anwar held discussions with divisional leaders for almost a month before appointing state chiefs,” the source added.
It said that during these meetings, division chiefs who were for Azmin gave their recommendations and suggestions.
“However, Anwar has the right to make the final call on who is appointed.
“This is what made some of them unhappy. Their candidates were not picked as state chiefs.
“But Anwar has also not appointed those who are vocal critics of Azmin,” he said, adding the move was to maintain intra-party peace.
Another source close to the party, however, claimed otherwise.
The source warned that the struggle for power in the party would worsen if there were efforts to prevent Anwar from assuming the country’s top post.
But the source said Azmin still held an edge over Anwar, despite the fact that most of the newly appointed PKR state chiefs are supporters of the PKR president.
In November, Azmin’s allies swept the top posts in the PKR polls, solidifying his position at the grassroots level.
Last Friday, Anwar chose Rafizi for one of the three vice-presidential posts that are filled by appointment, prompting an immediate response from Azmin who criticised his party boss’ choice.
Without mentioning names, Azmin alleged that some of the appointees were directly involved in rigging the party polls.