Datuk Seri Azmin Ali is looking for a platform — a party where he can lead and stand out as a leader — unlike now where he is just a member of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and very unlikely to be recognised as a leader among the Bersatu members.
While the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) headed by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, PKR is clearing the party of Azmin and Zuraida Kamaruddin’s supporters.
Talk is that Azmin is Muhyiddin’s right-hand man and he was tipped to be the deputy prime minister when Muhyiddin first formed his Cabinet early March.
However, Muhyiddin knows the political landscape well, being an old hand in politics, and he did not take a deputy but appointed four senior ministers who will, in turns, take over whenever he is away.
While all the senior ministers are party men — leaders of stable and recognised parties — Azmin formally entered Bersatu only in March after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government collapsed and he brought with him 11 PKR leaders, of which 10 were appointed as ministers and deputies.
Azmin would have read that his present political platform may not take him to the top because he cannot contest for party post as he does not meet the minimum three-year membership requirement.
Three years is a long time in politics and he may not even be around in the Cabinet by that time if he does not plan his future, which is quite complicated and crowded as it is now.
He may be or is already planning a Malay-based party, which is already in abundance given the country has Umno and PAS, the two biggest and trusted Malay-based parties, and Bersatu, which was set up by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a platform to form a political co-operation with DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) which won the May 2018 general election.
Bersatu will have its first annual general assembly AGM) probably by the year’s end where the party will choose its leadership line-up, which Azmin will have to miss.
He has to wait for another three years to contest; by that time anything can happen — with him or the party.
Bersatu is in a big dilemma when it comes to next to the general election. The Malay-based party needs to share Malay majority seats with Umno and PAS.
And forming his own party may add to the already saturated Malay majority seats where compromise is the keyword. There is doubt that leaders of the three Malay-based parties may want to compromise on any seat with Azmin’s new party if it ever materialises.
Azmin is actually in a very precarious position although he made it seem as though he is rock solid under Muhyiddin’s wings, making it seem as though he is Muhyiddin’s favourite to take over the leadership.
But the reality is he has to compete. Competing without a platform or party is tough and competing among political opponents is even tougher.