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Azmin ready to reconcile with Anwar, pledges loyalty to PKR

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PKR deputy president Azmin calls for unity, while party chief Anwar says there are no plans to sack him

KUALA LUMPUR: Pledging loyalty to the party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Azmin Ali says he is ready to reconcile with president Anwar Ibrahim.

Mr Azmin urged all members and leaders to band together to unite the party after the past year had seen PKR being marred by conflicts between the two warring factions.

"I'm ready (to reconcile). "The experience that we went through for the past year was very bitter, it was a very painful experience for all of us.

"I would like to encourage all members and leaders to come forward to unite the party.

"If there is an effort (to reconcile) then I'm ready," he told reporters after speaking at the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 dinner at a hotel yesterday.

Mr Anwar, on his part, had said earlier that there were no plans to sack Mr Azmin.

He said calls to sack Mr Azmin were raised by several delegates, which the party's leadership did not agree to.

"I have no problems negotiating, but the sentiment of the party is for unity and will not tolerate those who are undisciplined," he told reporters during a press conference after the closing ceremony of the PKR National Congress yesterday.

Asked if he would forgive Mr Azmin, Mr Anwar said: "I'm a forgiving person.

"But this is not a personal issue. I have to listen to the voices and the sentiments (of delegates). I listened to their intentions so we have to give them some space."

Mr Azmin, along with several leaders aligned to him, were absent from the congress.

Mr Anwar said that the door to conciliation between him and Mr Azmin remains open.

"May I quote John F. Kennedy? We should never fear to negotiate and we should never negotiate out of fear. The conciliation must be an open process."

Mr Anwar acknowledged that Mr Azmin had asked him during a private meeting to ensure that no delegates would use the congress to attack one another.

"But if the delegates say they want leaders to observe discipline and honour their pledges, how do you control that?

"I merely wanted the delegates to avoid casting aspersions or personal attacks, which the 90 per cent avoided, except when they walked out, we lost control of that.

"But before that, the people maintained decorum in their speeches. You can't expect a democratic party to be just a mouthpiece of their leaders," he said.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua, a supporter of Mr Azmin, attended yesterday and he was jeered by delegates after delivering a speech that was considered pro-Azmin.

He cautioned party members against being obsessed about Mr Anwar becoming the next prime minister.

"I don't want to see our party being so worked up over the eighth, ninth, or tenth prime minister. The party will then be fanatics and that is dangerous for PKR as a ruling party.

"This issue is not about Mr Anwar but to prevent the party from being a party without direction. This party is in your hands," he said. - THE STAR