Azmin not a shoo-in in Selangor PKR polls

Nabihah Hamid

Mohamed Azmin Ali is facing a tough fight for the PKR deputy presidency from Rafizi Ramli. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 13, 2018.

SELANGOR, where incumbent PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali was menteri besar, is not a guaranteed win for him in this Sunday’s party polls, according to party sources who include his own supporters.

The fight to win the state is crucial. Selangor, which has almost 250,000 PKR members, has the most party members among all states. Selangor members make up about 30% of the party’s 841,000 membership.

Although Selangor is considered to be Azmin’s stronghold, the economics affairs minister now has to worry about challenger Rafizi Ramli’s growing influence.

“The votes in Selangor are now split. The issue of local councillor appointments has damaged Azmin’s reputation,” a PKR elected representative, who declined to be named, told The Malaysian Insight.

He was referring to claims of cronyism and nepotism in the appointment of councillors in Selangor local authorities after the 14th general election.

At least two Selangor PKR Youth leaders resigned over the claims, which have been denied by Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari and several senior party leaders.

Despite the denials, Azmin’s rivals have used the issue to attack him.

Sources said the attacks on Azmin started long before the party polls began in June.

“Since becoming menteri besar in 2014, Azmin’s network with the grassroots shrunk while Rafizi worked with his research outfit Invoke,” the source said.

However, Radzlan Jalaludin, who is gunning for a spot in the PKR central leadership council, said it was still too early to say who will win the deputy president’s post.

 For now, Rafizi is leading by only 48 votes after six states had finished voting.

 “We have eight more states. I still think Azmin is strong in Selangor. We will try our best to help him,” the youth wing leader said.

Based on a tally by The Malaysian Insight, Rafizi has received 19,160 votes compared to Azmin’s  19,112.

The numbers may still change depending on the outcome of the doubtful votes, which the party’s central election committee has to sort out. 

So far, Azmin has taken Penang and Johor, while Rafizi has won in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and the Federal Territories.

The polls in Selangor, which has 22 divisions, will be conducted over three days, with nine divisions voting this Sunday, seven divisions on October 21, and six divisions on October 28.

Meanwhile, former Selangor PKR Youth secretary Syed Badli Shah Syed Osman said the fight will be tough in the 22 divisions, even predicting that Rafizi will take more than half of them.

“Rafizi is expected to get more votes than Azmin,” said the leader who resigned in July over the cronyism and nepotism claims.

Vote manipulations

Another Selangor PKR leader who declined to be identified said he was worried about the new electronic voting system which is being used for the first time by PKR in this year’s polls.

“We are worried about manipulation. Some results were illogical.

“Azmin’s team won at the branches, but Azmin lost the votes for deputy president.”

 Outgoing PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin has also raised these concerns.

 She said there were irregularities in the final vote tally at a few PKR division polls last week.


She said it was very strange that the votes for some division chiefs did not tally with the votes for deputy president hopeful Azmin although they belonged to the same camp.

Addressing the concerns, Dr Daroyah Alwi, who is running for deputy chief of the women’s wing, said they will work hard to make sure Azmin’s team wins in Selangor.

“We will pull together and redouble up our efforts,” said the Sementa state rep who believes Selangor is still with Azmin.

Incumbent vice-president Tian Chua said Azmin will triumph in Selangor, and also in Sabah which has the second biggest PKR membership.

Selangor and Sabah together cover 47% of the PKR members eligible to vote in the party polls.

“Azmin will be able to catch up. We will send out a team to monitor the vote counting closely to prevent the possibility of manipulation,” the former Batu MP said.

Socio-political analyst Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi also said Azmin must intensify his campaign in both Selangor and Sabah.

“Selangor and Sabah will decide the outcome of the race (for deputy president).”

The Universiti Malaya don said Azmin has to meet members in the two states, or risk being seen as elitist compared to Rafizi’s team.

“The members will want to see and hear Azmin campaign personally.” – October 12, 2018.

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