Malaysia: Anwar: Rafizi means well, but need not be hard on everything

  • PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli’s return to active politics saw him approaching the party’s leadership election with guns blazing. Rafizi’s campaign has adopted a critical lens on the PKR and Pakatan Harapan’s decisions since 2018, causing some tensions within the coalition.
  • In an interview on 18 Apr 22, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim believed that Rafizi, his once trusted confidante, meant well. However, Anwar appeared uncomfortable with Rafizi’s confrontational approach. “Rafizi’s character is ‘hard’,” said Anwar.
  • “Yet, he is someone that we can have discussions with. No problem. I do not see myself as the sole target of his criticisms. He just wants to help the party. I believe that in giving advice, he does not have to ‘go hard’ on everything, especially when it comes to the party. And I do not see that all his criticisms were directed at me as the party president,” he added.
  • Anwar said that although the party respected freedom of expression, the delivery was important in order to protect the party’s interest.
  • “There are things that (PKR’s internal critics) got wrong. For example, the issue of the ‘big tent’ approach. (Rafizi) got it totally wrong,” said Anwar.
  • Anwar said the “big tent” approach was never discussed by the PKR leadership and was thus irrelevant. Therefore, he added, Rafizi should not be antagonising Harapan allies.
  • Meanwhile, Anwar disagreed with his daughter Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah’s view that Harapan will lose two more general elections before having a decent opportunity at winning.
  • To Anwar, Nurul Izzah’s pessimistic outlook will serve as a reminder for Harapan and motivate the coalition to work harder.
  • “We can take what she said as a warning that the party should change and rebuild. Failure will mean losing (during the election). Her opinions were based on observations of the Johor and Malacca elections. I disagree with this,” he said.

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