Drowned in hatred

There are 19 political parties in Sabah, and if we add up several West Malaysian parties and independents, the Sabah “battlefield” could be extremely crowded!

As if that is not enough, ministry of international trade and industry senior minister Azmin Ali vows to put his camp in the fight.

The state saw the largest number of candidates fielded in any state in the 2018 general elections, at 349. The Merotai state seat, for instance, witnessed a seven-cornered fight, a national first, while six-cornered fights were fought in six constituencies and five-cornered fights in 13.

At his juncture, the strengths of Perikatan Nasional and PH+ are comparable, and this has enticed even more parties and independents to jump in with the hope of becoming kingmakers at the best offered terms, in the event of a hung assembly.

Why does Azmin Ali insist to dip a hand into the state election in Sabah? He said the party he used to belong (PKR) won several seats in the state and sure enough his camp would want to defend them.

Now that Azmin et al are no longer PKR leaders or members, what makes them feel they are morally right to defend the seats won by the party? You may guess that he does this out of a deep-rooted hatred for his former boss Anwar Ibrahim, and his sole purpose is to stop PKR from winning any seat in Sabah this time.

During the Qurban Aidiladha in Permatang Pauh on Sunday, Azmin implied that he would “capture” the Anwar stronghold come the next general elections, calling Anwar a power-crazy man whose only job in the past 22 years was to ask the same question: when will I get to become PM?

No one has the slightest hint why this Azmin Ali has hated Anwar so much. The Sheraton coup that brought down the PH government and denied Anwar of the opportunity to ascend to the PM office was done. By right he has had his revenge but why is he still carrying with him the ill-will?

By contrast Anwar seems to have put the grudge behind him, insisting during an interview with Sin Chew Daily that to forgive is divine. When asked whether he still “hated” Azmin, the PKR president said, “I smiled to him just yesterday!”

Inability to unload the ill feelings is poised to remarkably constrained the potentials of the former PKR deputy chief.

As Tun Mahathir has said, Azmin was only focused on his fight against Anwar, and his perspective in politics was “too narrow”.

“You should think about the development of the country. You cannot, just because of your dislike for one person.”

Making toppling Anwar as his raison d’être will only pull Azmin away from his sensibility. Take for example, his earlier political influences in Sabah have derived from his former party PKR, but he and the state leaders supporting him have been sacked by the party, their participation in the state election will be a futile attempt besides the fact the move could infuriate PPBM’s allies in the state, putting himself in an even more embarrassed situation.

PKR contested eight state seats in GE14, and this time its major rivals are PN allies such as Umno and PBS which Azmin & Co cannot afford to offend.

To begin with, the ten pro-Azmin MPs have not even joined PPBM. What gives them the right and position to take part in seat negotiations? Even if PM Muhyiddin is eventually willing to offer him a couple of seats contested by PPBM, or a swap of seats among PN-friendly parties, fielding candidates from the Azmin camp will invariably trigger frustration in the grassroots.

The status of Azmin and his people is somewhat unusual within the PN coalition. They do not belong to any particular party even though they have all been offered government posts, Azmin being appointed a senior minister who will chair a cabinet meeting in the event the PM is unable to do so. Such a privilege will no doubt fire up the jealousy of others. Little wonder that Umno leaders have constantly ridiculed him. Umno supreme council member Nur Jazlan, for instance, recently dismissed Azmin’s camp as a liability to Muafakat Nasional.

Azmin has always been a very smart and farsighted man. He acted very loyal during his early days with Anwar but was actually building up his grassroots influences in secret. After he was named by the Selangor Sultan as MB following the failed Kajang Move, Azmin’s relationship with Anwar began to take a turn for the worse.

When Pakatan Harapan was the government, Mahathir bypassed PKR to appoint Azmin as economic affairs minister, and he later played a pivotal role in the Sheraton Move to help bring Muhyiddin to power. All this shows that this guy is a maestro in seizing the opportunity for him to ascend the hierarchy.

He is now brimming with wild ambitions because there isn’t another person more fit for the PM office after Muhyiddin. He has successfully groomed his teams in the states which are at his disposal in the event of a post-election turmoil.

However, as he has been implicated in a number of coups, including overthrowing PH state governments, comments on him have been largely negative. Meanwhile, the male sex video incident has further tainted his image among the Malay voters and non-Malays in general loathe at his betrayal.

While on the surface his camp looks promising, his popularity is taking a beating.

On the other hand, Anwar has won himself a lot of sympathy votes for his insistence on multiracialism. Azmin lacks a clear set of political philosophies and is good only at powerplay which will not take him any further from here.

By : Lim Sue Goan – Sin Chew Daily

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