MELAKA: Following calls for his deputy to be sacked after a walkout at the party’s national congress, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim remained calm with a conciliatory tone as he said, doors for conciliation between him and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali were still open.
“May I quote John F. Kennedy? We should never fear to negotiate and we should never negotiate out of fear.
“So, the conciliation must be an open process, ” he told reporters after the closing ceremony of the PKR National Congress at the Melaka International Trade Centre here yesterday.
For now, there were no plans to dismiss Azmin as the PKR deputy president, Anwar said, adding that this was raised by several delegates but was not agreed upon by the party’s leadership.
“I have no problems to negotiate but the sentiments of the party are that they want unity and they will not tolerate those who are undisciplined, ” he said.
When asked if he would forgive Azmin, Anwar answered, “I’m a forgiving person”.
“But this is not a personal issue. I have to listen to the voices and the sentiments (of the delegates).
“I have listened to their intentions, so we have to give them some space, ” he said.
Several delegates called for the sacking of leaders on the first day of the congress, emphasizing the need to enforce more discipline within the party.
Most of them, who appeared to be aligned with Anwar’s faction, also called the leaders “pengkhianat” (traitors) within the party.
It was reported that Azmin, along with other leaders aligned to his faction such Zuraida Kamaruddin, Sivarasa Rasiah, Amirudin Shari and Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, were absent from the congress.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua is the only one present yesterday, where he was jeered by delegates after delivering a speech in favor of Azmin.
At the congress on Saturday afternoon, about 100 members walked out, claiming that the speeches made by delegates were mostly critical of Azmin.
After the walkout, Azmin took Anwar to task during a joint press conference, slamming the Port Dickson MP for triggering personal attacks by delegates after he raised the story of Si Kitol and Raja Mendeliar on the history of Melaka in his speech.
Anwar claimed that he was also invited to a dinner in Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel with PKR leaders aligned to Azmin.
“He (Azmin) invited me two days ago.
“I told him I have functions every Sunday night in my house, ” he said.
More than 80% of delegates were present during the congress, which “was big for me”, Anwar said.
He acknowledged that Azmin had told him during a private meeting to ensure that no delegates would use the congress to attack one another.
“But if the delegates say they want leaders to observe discipline and honor their pledges, how do you control that?
“I merely wanted the delegates to avoid casting aspersions or personal attacks, which the 90% avoided, except when they walked out, we lost control of that.
“But before that, the people maintained decorum in their speeches.
“You can’t expect a democratic party to be just a mouthpiece of their leaders.”