It can be unbearable to the Selangor MB’s supporters to see the pact’s election director lobbying for Dr Mahathir to be next PM instead of himself
Last August, it was announced by Pakatan Harapan that Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali will be the election director of the coalition leading into the 14th general election (GE14).
During that time Dr Mahathir Mohamad was not yet named as the Opposition’s preferred prime minister candidate although he was already the pact’s chairman.
All looked pristine and well strategised for naming Azmin as the election director.
As the PKR deputy president, the young and ambitious Azmin, the least controversial among many leaders in Pakatan Harapan, fitted the profile to showcase that other than jailed Anwar Ibrahim and family, there is another Malay icon in the making that can take on Barisan Nasional.
His cordial ties with Anwar’s family members would give him the added advantage during campaigning back-to-back in continuing the ‘Reformasi’ struggle.
Azmin too needed to be out more in the open than just being a local Selangor hero if his ambition to one day see himself sitting as the prime minister in Putrajaya is to become a reality.
One can’t remain a ‘jaguh kampung’ and claim to be a national champion, what more when there are many other political vultures within the Pakatan Harapan camp.
But the tides have changed direction very quickly against this relatively young (to Anwar and Mahathir) politician.
Despite some strong grassroots backing and vocal voices from within PKR in favour of Azmin, the Pakatan Harapan presidential council sidestepped its election director and instead named the grand old man as its choice for the seventh prime minister if it wins GE14.
Speculations are rife that Azmin’s supporters are rather annoyed and taken aback that the leadership has backtracked its promises to have a rejuvenated team battling against BN in GE14.
Azmin’s tweets and those of his supporters, though vaguely put at times, indicate that there is unsavoury flavour brewing in the pockets of Pakatan Harapan, especially in Selangor PKR team.
Naming Mahathir as PM candidate means taking a gigantic risk for he is not in the best of books of many voters.
It also goes to show that there is lack of trust in the leadership in a potential like Azmin, who could have been an attraction especially to the young Malay voters.
It is ironic and rather sad, provided there are no changes made to Pakatan Harapan’ election machinery, that Azmin will now be going round the country leading the Opposition’s campaign to make Mahathir the prime minister again.
What a shame! All the hopes got shattered because Mahathir will never allow anybody to be superior to him.
Azmin’s relationship with PAS a bane
Was Azmin pushed to the back because he still kept a ‘relationship’ with PAS in Selangor that played a fundamental role in making him the menteri besar?
PAS, even at the national level, has never condemned Azmin after all the turmoil and break-off from the now defunct Pakatan Rakyat.
On the contrary it was supportive of Azmin when he decided to keep his state government intact with PAS members so as not to rock a stable state government and give advantage to BN on any fronts.
But all know that Mahathir and DAP are dead against PAS for it has formed a sort of ‘alliance’ with BN and its push for hudud laws, which does not augur well for them.
And if Azmin comes to the fore as PM candidate, he could possibly extend an olive branch to PAS once again, which definitely would be the biggest slap to Mahathir first and then DAP.
So,would not Azmin have been a better choice if Pakatan Harapan had wanted to avoid three-cornered fights with BN?
Embracing Mahathir and PPBM and letting him snatch the baton off Anwar and family was the biggest blunder Pakatan Harapan has made in its political trajectory.
Azmin has every right to be sore for Mahathir could have poured cold water on his game plan prematurely without taking into consideration the bridge that Azmin has built with some core PAS leaders via their representatives in Selangor.
Pakatan Harapan should not have closed all doors to PAS too soon. In politics, change happens in a blink.
Its presidential council should realise that many in PAS are still against Umno and BN – and that could have been a factor to continue negotiations with the Islamist party until the eleventh hour.
But now, even Azmin will have a tough time in the state of Selangor in GE14. While he has to toe what Mahathir dictates to the pact, he may not be able to retain the state’s PAS support to avoid three-cornered fights.
That could give advantage to BN. And if Selangor is still retained by Pakatan Harapan, Azmin may not be the first choice to be the menteri besar once again if he does not rhyme with the decisions of Pakatan Harapan’s presidential council to back Mahathir on all grounds.
Will Azmin remain the subservient, obedient kid around the block that will further disappoint his loyal supporters, or will he go rogue on Pakatan Harapan and voice his displeasure in the open?