Friday, September 24, 2010

Can We Believe Azmin's Promises?

From Malaysiakini "Zaid won't be left out, promises Azmin", with commentary by Sarawak Headhunter in red.

PKR "newbie" Zaid Ibrahim is assured of a place in the party regardless of the outcome of the party elections this November, declared his deputy presidential rival Azmin Ali.

How magnanimous, yet how hypocritical. Having sabotaged Zaid in Hulu Selangor, whacked him inside out in the run-up to the party elections, using dirty tactics reminiscent of UMNO, he now expects us to believe that he will be generous in victory. What power would he have as Deputy President to make such a promise any way, unless the President and the General Head of the party were mere puppets of his?
azmin ali pc in parliament 020709 02In part one of an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini, Azmin (left) said that the party will always have space for every member, including Zaid.

Really? Those who have been on the receiving end of party intrigues engineered by the so-called "loyal" ex-UMNO/BN and ABIM factions in PKR would say otherwise. 

"I have great respect for Zaid. He has strength that will help the party, and I believe that if I am accepted as deputy president, Zaid will get an important role to continue to help consolidate and prepare the party for the next general elections... this is not a political pronouncement, but my commitment to work with Zaid and other colleagues," he said.

If only he really meant what he says. All his recent pronouncements indicate otherwise and have shown just how much "respect" he has for Zaid.

He makes a political pronouncement and says it is not one. Does he know what he is talking about or is he just trying to portray a (false) sense of sincerity.

Azmin, who has so far secured nominations as number two from 43 out of 80 party divisions that have so far held their annual general meetings, stressed that winning posts in the November party elections is not the be all and end all in PKR, with the winners' responsibilities going far beyond sitting in a high chair.

If this was true, then why has he and his group of supporters (mostly wannabe re-appointed MPs and State Assemblymen who depend on his and Anwar's decisions whether they will be re-appointed or not) gone to the extent of an all-out war against Zaid?

He repeatedly emphasised the importance of loyalty to the party, forged in the political fires that have moulded what he considered upstanding characters such as outgoing deputy president Syed Husin Ali, as a key quality for a leader to take charge of the 12-year-old political outfit.

Is he trying to say that Zaid, being a relative new-comer in PKR, is not loyal to the party, a traitor even? Is this why he has sponsored the blog, to "save" the party from Zaid the "outsider"? One wonders really whether the party needs saving from Zaid or from Azmin himself. 

NONEIn an apparent swipe at Zaid (right), he pointed out that members who hopped on the PKR bandwagon post-March 2008 have the responsibility to fully understand the struggles and aspirations of the party, particularly the core objectives outlined by party advisor Anwar Ibrahim during the Permatang Pauh declaration on Sept 12, 1998.

Does he really think that Zaid is unaware of or doesn't understand the "struggles and aspirations" of the party and its "core objectives"? Does Azmin himself understand them or is he merely paying lip-service to them in his over-ambitious grab for this top post?

Didn't he and Anwar not understand the struggles and aspirations of UMNO and its key objectives when they were in UMNO? Or were they not also fooled by UMNO like the rest of us?

Well Azmin, we, like Zaid, certainly know what PKR is all about, but it's people like you within PKR we are not so sure about.

If he was really for "Reformasi", why is he not showing it in his attitude, speeches and pronouncements? Or is "Reformasi" only just another stepping-stone to fulfill his own personal agenda? Will the whole 400,000 membership of PKR be taken in by Azmin's hypocrisy and insincerity? The whole of Malaysia hopes not, and Sarawak doesn't count on being taken in by it.

Azmin, who is currently party vice-president, said this is important in view of allegations by a certain group of "new members" in the party that president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is a "puppet president" and that Azmin himself had ordered his agents to pay off bloggers to disparage Zaid, among others.

Wan Azizah has never really been a "politician" as such and has always been or allowed herself to be a puppet president from the time when Chandra Muzaffar, the Deputy President, ran (or mis-ran) the party, not her. This is a fact.

And now Azmin is trying to do the same thing, or is it Anwar using Azmin to do the same thing to create another buffer between himself and the other members of PKR? Divide and rule is an old tactic of all political masters.

Is Azmin a political master or a tool who now wants to collect on his reward for loyalty to Anwar (rather than the party)?

Is PKR greater than Anwar (and Azmin) or will PKR allow itself to be dominated by Anwar (and Azmin)? Only its own members can decide.

Zaid, who joined PKR about a year after quitting his post as minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of law and getting sacked from Umno in 2008, had said in his blog last week that Wan Azizah was merely a "puppet president" as the real power lay with her husband, Anwar, as the party's de-facto chief.

selangor pakatan convension 070310 wan azizahHe apparently changed his tune a few days later, putting up another post in his blog declaring his undivided loyalty to Wan Azizah (right) should he win the deputy presidential race.

Zaid however continued to wag his finger at Anwar, claiming that Wan Azizah's position as president is continuously undermined by her husband's de-facto position, arguing that it disrespects the party constitution and will reflect badly on the party.

Confusing, isn't it Zaid? But that's the way it is. You were right the first time - Anwar is the real power in the party, not the President. The Deputy President is the one next in line, not the President!

THAT is why they are so desperate to keep Zaid out of the equation, so as not to let an "outsider" they don't or cannot control to upset this cosy arrangement.

Zaid's no fool either and he shouldn't ignore the fact that Anwar is the de-facto "President" of the party and will need a Deputy President whom he and the other members can depend on to run the party. Zaid should put himself forward as that man and make himself more reliable than Azmin, who will merely be a yes-man.

'PKR not a lab rat'

Azmin showed some annoyance with Zaid's contention that Anwar being de-facto chief demeans Wan Azizah's presidency, and defended the decision to create the post for Anwar as a collective decision by members during the last party elections in Kemaman, Terengganu in 2007.

He added that PKR never makes unilateral decision as it practices a culture of muafakat or cooperation, taking into account every possible view before a decision is made on consensus.

"I wish to remind all candidates that the culture we have in Keadilan was built over 12 years. We have our own culture, new politics, a new approach that is clean and democratic.

Why is it that this so-called "clean and democratic" approach seems to be missing from Azmin's own campaign?

Instead of trying to influence the members through unfair, unethical and downright dirty tactics and means, why not just let them decide in the true spirit of consensus and democracy?

"We did not build this culture through experimentation, we developed our own culture in the last decade through the conscience of the majority.

NONE"We can't have people coming in yesterday and suddenly decide to revamp (the party), start experimenting... you will destroy the party. Keadilan is not a lab rat," Azmin said.

Neither is Malaysia. Isn't this the typical UMNO argument? 

"We can't have people coming in yesterday and suddenly decide to revamp (the country), start experimenting... you will destroy the nation. Malaysia is not a lab rat". Najib will be delighted to latch on to that one.

Will experimenting with Zaid destroy the party? Sarawak Headhunter doesn't think so. It will probably make the party stronger and enhance its appeal to the electorate. Zaid is not a rival to Anwar, even if that is how Azmin wants to portray it.

Rather than undermining the way the party currently works, he said it is more meaningful to beef up the party's strengths and improve on its weaknesses to face the challenges to come, the most pressing being the next general elections.

This is where Zaid is needed more than Azmin.

And it is here that Azmin believes he can help the party should he be elected as deputy president, with his manifesto to set the "Reformasi Agenda to Putrajaya".

Zaid can probably do this better.

Three focus areas

Azmin's manifesto, which he expects to release within the next two weeks, will be based on three key aspects - reinvigorating members' ideals in the party struggle, party loyalty and unity, and tightening up the party's administration and inner workings.

He stressed that it is important to build on the three aspects in tandem if the party is to move forward, but placed particular emphasis on the first aspect as the main driver for the party's growth.

"It is important for members to hold on to ideals... politics without ideals will only remain as an undertaking of low morals and an uncharismatic profession," he said.

Talk is cheap. We have yet to see any of Azmin's much-vaunted "ideals" at work, and where is the charisma? Let's not talk about the morality of the attacks against Zaid.

Azmin however played down talk of his taking the lead in the deputy presidential race, saying that the high number of nominations he received is not necessarily reflective of support at the grassroots level.

Let's hope the grassroots of PKR have the collective wisdom to make the right decision.

US president Barack ObamaHe nevertheless welcomed the open declaration of support given to him by groups of PKR parliamentarians and state assemblypersons, saying that there is nothing wrong for them to do so in a democratic (election?)

Yes, good tactic that one, entirely orchestrated of course, in the hope that Zaid would believe that it was futile to contest - a lesser opponent than Zaid would probably have given up.

Taking the example of United States president Barack Obama (left), Azmin pointed out that the then presidential candidate received numerous open declarations of support from artists, business owners and community leaders, and believes it is a healthy practice as it encourages party members to keep things above board.

Obama now are we? That could make Anwar nervous! Azmin is deliberately ignoring the fact that an open nation-wide Presidential election is completely different from a closed party election, even one in which all members are voting. In principle of course it is a good practice, but not where it is used as part of a dirty campaign, which is what Azmin's campaign is.

The more the merrier

When asked what he thought of the possibility of more candidates widening the field in the party's deputy presidential race, Azmin said it would be a strong indication that PKR is on the right track in promoting democracy within the party.

He's actually quite nervous about this but he's not going to show it is he? He's probably more worried about Khalid Ibrahim becoming a candidate rather than Zaid Ibrahim (since Zaid has said he would not contest if Khalid becomes a candidate).

"At one time, there was hardly any interest from members to hold party posts, what more the rakyat to join Keadilan. Today, we have up to eight-way contests happening... I see this as a positive, but I must remind candidates to uphold their ethics," he said.

Like Azmin himself of course. What were his ethics again?

NONEAzmin noted that should there be any more candidates offering themselves as PKR's number two, he expects Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim (right) and Perak PKR chief Mustafa Kamil Ayup to be among them as he believes they are both experienced and capable enough.

Good to split the votes in Azmin's favour of course.

He however sidestepped a question on how he rates his chances, emphasising that it is all left in the hands of the grassroots members.

"I'm very thankful for the support I've been given. It is very encouraging but I will not be complacent or take the easy way. I will present my 'report card' to the grassroots and explain my manifesto to them as I believe the members should make an informed decision when they make their choice.

"I just hope that when they make their choice, it is based on the work record of the candidate and that they heed our senior leader Syed Husin Ali's advice to choose leaders who are loyal and have been tested," he said.

Loyal to whom or to what - the person or the party or the principles (of reform)? Tested by what? Is Zaid not loyal? Has Zaid not been tested? Let's put them both to the test! 

Members of PKR, decide wisely!

For Sarawakian and Sabahan members, you have no choice but to vote for Zaid. 

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