PARTI Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Azmin Ali is an intriguing character, to say the least. Here is a man who rose from being a minister’s special officer to becoming a Member of Parliament (MP) and vice-president of an emerging opposition party.
In Malaysian political culture, loyalty is often, though not always, rewarded. But Azmin’s loyalty to one man has brought him far. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, then the Education Minister and an Umno leader, took on Azmin as a special officer when the latter was just 23. He kept Azmin as private secretary throughout his Umno career, as Finance Minister and then as Deputy Prime Minister, until his sacking in Septermber 1998.
The two men share a long-standing working relationship that has opened them to character assassination and insinuations of all kinds. Azmin is alleged to be receiving “special treatment” from Anwar. Questions are raised about why the two are so close, and why it appears as if Azmin is the only one Anwar listens to.
Azmin has attempted to answer these speculations in his blog, but he largely brushes them off as jealousy. Mostly, he passionately defends Anwar, comparing and contrasting him with Anwar’s nemesis, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
But what are these speculations worth, really? What The Nut Graph feels is that we know little about Azmin’s principles and too much about the rumours swirling around him. What is more important than the salacious innuendos about him is whether Azmin is a credible and principled leader.
It is worth nothing that Azmin appeared to be the lone voice in ever-so-subtly condemning PKR colleague and fellow Selangor assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong over the circulation of intimate pictures of her. While other PKR leaders were swift to defend Wong’s privacy and label the leaked photos a Barisan Nasional attack, Azmin demanded for explanations instead. He also hinted at disciplinary action if Wong was found guilty of having posed or was involved in the taking of the pictures.
Azmin also sparked uproar among Pakatan Rakyat (PR) colleagues when he publicly called on Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to reshuffle the state executive council. His call drew sharp reactions from Teresa Kok, with whom he traded barbs in the assembly hall. Azmin kept up the ante when he supported PKR Member of Parliament Wee Choo Keong who asserted that a Selangor exco member had underworld links. Azmin said Wee should be allowed to explain his allegation, while Wee supported Azmin’s call for an exco reshuffle.
Other PKR members and Khalid’s aides have shrugged off the outburst, choosing to view it as constructive criticism. But is there a stronger undercurrent? Azmin has denied rumours that he wants the Selangor MB‘s post for himself.
For now, all that surrounds Azmin, really, are rumours and speculation by disgruntled former Anwar aides. Keeping a wry silence or issuing a denial does little to make speculations go away. Detractors also say that having come from Umno, Azmin still carries his former party’s political culture. How much has really changed? Perhaps Azmin’s real testing has yet to come.
What do readers think about Azmin? Do we know enough about him, considering the amount of power he holds in PKR by virtue of his loyalty to Anwar? Share what you think, or want to know about Azmin, in six words only. Here are some of The Nut Graph’s attempts:
Don’t know much about this guy.
Who is Azmin Ali without Anwar?
What’s in store for Azmin’s loyalty?
Jacqueline Ann Surin:
Ambitious enough to become prime minister?
But what exactly are his principles?
Did he defend Eli Wong’s privacy?
Favourite whipping boy within and without.
Umno to PKR, has anything changed?
How come so powerful in PKR?
Is his influence real or imagined?
New party. Old feudalisms. Same difference.
Maybe they are very good friends?
Compare his stands: Eli vs Anwar.
Perhaps PKR needs an internal revolution.
We need to hear his side.
The Nut Graph wants transparent politicians.
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway‘s genius, the Six Words On… section challenges readers to give us their comments about a current issue, contemporary personality or significant event in just six words. The idea is to get readers engaged in an issue, while having fun and being creatively disciplined.
Read previous Six Words
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