PKR has been dealt with yet another blow. Its ex-Youth chief Ezam Mohd Nor has decided to quit the opposition party. Ezam told malaysiakini today that he had lost faith in the leadership, including in his mentor and the party’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim. Ezam, who has been with the party since its inception in 1999, also did not rule out the possibility of returning to Umno or joining PAS.
The 40-year-old politician, who was Anwar’s former political secretary prior to the latter’s sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998, revealed that he is discussing with both parties.
Ezam had stepped down as Youth chief and Shah Alam PKR chief four months ago. The opposition party has seen several members and leaders quitting of late, a situation which certain quarters blame Anwar for.
Azmin the 'de facto' leader According to Ezam, he had informed the party’s Shah Alam division through a letter on April 4 of his decision to quit.
“I don’t see any sincerity among the party leadership to resolve the crisis in PKR. I no longer have trust in his (Anwar) sincerity to consolidate the party,” he said when contacted. Ezam also accused Anwar of behaving like a “dictator” but described him as a “weak” leader.
He also claimed that Anwar was being “controlled” by PKR vice-president Azmin Ali. He also cited several incidents linked to the PKR’s party elections last month, where he claimed that Anwar had lent strong backing to Azmin at the expense of others.
Ezam and Azmin - who was Anwar’s former private secretary - had openly locked horns when Azmin had vied for deputy presidency while Ezam wanted the status quo to remain. According to Ezam, the final blow for him was when Anwar allegedly instructed the Permatang Pauh division not to nominate any candidate for the No 2 post.
“To me, (Dr) Syed Husin (Ali) is the incumbent (deputy president), if he (Anwar) asked the division not to nominate Syed Husin, it means Anwar was supporting Azmin. “Why can’t Anwar be firm and say 'no' to Azmin?” he asked. Ezam claimed that Anwar’s instruction was also one of the reasons which led to PKR Permatang Pauh chief Anuar Shaari quitting the party.
Azmin later withdrew from the contest and sought to defend his vice-presidency instead. It was said that he had made the decision after Anwar advised him to do so following Syed Husin’s change of heart to continue in the post and stand in the elections. “Since Anwar stopped Azmin from contesting for deputy presidency, he (Azmin) then stopped Anwar from going for the top post,” claimed Ezam. He was referring to Anwar’s decision to pull out from the contest for presidency at the eleventh hour. 'Just like KJ' Anwar, who had been adamant in defying a Registrar of Societies (ROS) ruling banning him from running, withdrew after the party’s supreme council met hours before the elections and decided that he should not risk the party from being de-registered by defying the ban. According to Ezam, Anwar’s last-minute withdrawal caused unhappiness among party members.
He said Anwar should have initiated consultations at the outset to avoid a top level contest which could harm the party. The race for presidency, he added, “created a lot of trouble.”
“There was no effort to talk to Abdul Rahman Othman (another candidate) since the beginning. But Abdul Rahman withdrew (on the day of the elections) after Anwar talked to him the day before.
“This means Abdul Rahman would have withdrawn if they had approached him (earlier) and Anwar would be the president now. “We can fight the ROS ruling... It is important for Anwar to be an elected leader, he is like a dictator now by making himself a de facto leader,” he added.
Ezam also accused Azmin (left) for preventing Anwar from talking to Abdul Rahman.
“Anwar is not firm. Why does he allow Azmin to behave in the same way as the prime minister (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) allows KJ (his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin) to (allegedly) control him?” “This is the man (Azmin) who is detrimental to the party,” he alleged. “A lot of genuine leaders have left but why does Anwar hold on to him, I don’t understand.”
Political future On why he had kept quiet for two months about his decision to quit PKR, Ezam said he was worried about the repercussions of his decision on the Ijok by-election and party congress. He also revealed that Anwar had wanted to meet him several days before the congress but he had turned down the proposal.
“I have nothing personal against him (Anwar), but politically it is over,” he said in response to a question. On his next move, Ezam said as for now, he has no intention to join any political party or contest in the coming general elections. However, the former PKR leader said he is keeping his options open.
“I don’t deny that there is a series of talks with PAS and Umno. The more serious one is with PAS since I have met their top leaders. With Umno, several of their state and divisional leaders have met me,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ezam said he is also seeking an appointment with the prime minister this Friday to forward corruption evidence against a senior minister. Asked whether the meeting would also include his political plans, he replied: “If (Abdullah’s) secretaries want to talk about politics, I have no problem.”