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Anwar said together, they must avoid a further split and redirect the party’s focus on issues affecting the people.NSTP/RASUL AZLI SAMAD

MELAKA: Amid an ongoing internal conflict roiling the party, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today called on party leaders and members to remain under his stewardship.

He said together, they must avoid a further split and redirect the party’s focus on issues affecting the people.

“The sentiment is for the party to remain strong under the leadership of Anwar and the entire team. We don’t want any other split.

“If you are still firm in our belief to help the rakyat, then it’s okay if you have different opinions and want to criticise the president, as long as you still go to the ground.

“But if you start to lose interest in the people’s issues, then choose a different party,” he said in his winding-up speech during PKR’s 20th National Congress at the Melaka International Trade Centre here, today.

Anwar’s call came as continued infighting in PKR gave birth to two factions – one siding with him and the other backing his deputy, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Although Anwar has tried to downplay the severity of the rift, Azmin yesterday held a press conference to air his disappointment with the Port Dickson Member of Parliament.

Azmin had said that Anwar had broken his promises that were made during their meeting on Wednesday, which was widely regarded as an opportunity for the two to patch things up.

The Economic Affairs Minister also said that Anwar’s policy speech yesterday, which touched on the issue of betrayal, had opened the door for party delegates to openly attack him.

However, Anwar said that it was not his intention to knock Azmin, as he was merely citing a historical Melakan parable in which the fall of the Malay kingdom was caused by ineffective leadership and betrayal by insiders.

“I was reprimanded because of the Si Kitul (proverbial traitor) story. It was not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings.

“I was talking about a historical fact. I was talking about how the Sultan at the time made a mistake by listening to a traitor and only found out the truth when it was too late.

“Don’t get offended by this,” he said.

Moving forward, Anwar said that PKR will set its focus on next year’s Sarawak state election, and called on the state’s leaders to get closer to the people to understand their predicaments.

“I’d like to remind Sarawak leaders to be the representatives to everyone. Beginning January (next year), we will focus on our machinery, so that we can make a difference in Sarawak,” he added.

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