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Azmin absent from PKR retreat again despite Anwar's overtures

Published:  |  Modified:

PKR deputy president Azmin Ali was a "no-show" at the PKR leadership retreat at Port Dickson tonight.

Sources present at the retreat said Azmin did not turn up for a scheduled speech he was supposed to give.

This despite PKR president Anwar Ibrahim taking steps seemingly aimed at cooling tensions between the two which have escalated recently.

It is unclear why Azmin did not attend but a tweet he sent out indicated he needed time to process Anwar's overtures.

"I read the 'full statement' written by the PKR president which was issued this evening. Give me some time to process this new development," he tweeted.

This was in reference to Anwar's remarks welcoming police findings that Azmin was "not involved" in a sex video.

Police have said the video is authentic but the facial recognition process had failed to confirm whether Azmin was one of the two men recorded engaging in sexual acts.

In subsequent tweets, Azmin said he took note of Anwar's current stance on the matter as well as the PKR president's pledge to take action against those involved in criminal acts over the video.

Earlier today, the only PKR leader aligned to Azmin who spoke at the retreat was vice-president Tian Chua.

It is understood that fellow vice-president Ali Biju did not attend due to family matters while Zuraida Kamaruddin said she had ministerial duties to attend to.

PKR women's chief Haniza Talha also did not show up at the meeting this morning to speak.

Meanwhile, PKR vice-president Dr Xavier Jayakumar spoke at the retreat this morning. He was part of Azmin's team during the party elections last year.

However, sources told Malaysiakini that Anwar had said this morning that he was personally informed by Jayakumar that the latter had not signed a statement rebuking the party president.

The PKR vice-president was not originally on the list of signatories for the statement on Thursday but sources close to him and Azmin had informed the media at the time that Jayakumar's name should be included.

Meanwhile, PKR information chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, who was also on Azmin's team last year, reportedly spoke out against the pro-Azmin statement tonight saying it was an act of insubordination that should not happen again.

The statement had called for Anwar to stop issuing statements that could divide PKR while voicing support for the party's deputy president.

PKR has for years been divided between those aligned to Anwar and Azmin but the situation exacerbated over the past month following the circulation of a sex video implicating the latter.

Speculation has been rife that the video is related to the tussle over the prime minister's post following claims that premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad preferred Azmin to succeed him despite an earlier agreement that Anwar would take over the reins.

Azmin, who is also economic affairs minister, is convinced that those responsible for the video are from within PKR. The situation reached a boiling point after Anwar said Azmin should resign if it was proven to be him in the video.

Following police findings on the video, Anwar softened his stance and urged party members to set aside their differences and focus on strengthening the Pakatan Harapan government.

Mahathir, who has staunchly defended Azmin, also relayed the same message when speaking at the retreat last night.

Azmin is expected to attend a thanksgiving prayer in Shah Alam tomorrow night, in conjunction with the police findings on the video.

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